Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How a theatre season comes together

All right, my third post about Trinity Repertory Company's upcoming season. That's some kind of record. But I think this is interesting to theatergoers everywhere.

After reading about Trinity Rep's 2009-2010 lineup of plays (and one musical) I wondered how a company goes about deciding what to put on. Well, my question has been answered. The task falls to artistic director Curt Columbus and associate artistic director Craig Watson. Next year's theme is second chances. Here's some of what they had to say:

Twelfth Night
(This is Trinity Rep's annual selection for its education program, Project Discovery Plus, which alternates Shakespeare with classic American plays.)

Curt: "Thousands of students will see it and host our actors in their classroom workshops. I love what it has to say about second chances! The play fits our company extraordinarily well."

Craig: "It's Shakespeare's best comedy, the one I enjoy the most."

Dead Man's Cell Phone
Curt: "Our audiences loved The Clean House, and Sarah [Ruhl] is a Brown alumna and friend. It’s a great complement to Twelfth Night."

Craig: "Sarah’s work has such lyricism, which rhymes well with Shakespeare."

Craig: "It’s a musical that we can do well with our resident company and students. The second chances theme is strong in Cabaret, but in a very different sense."

Curt: "It’s all about the world in motion, and how we make our way in that world with courage."

Shooting Star
Craig: "Shooting Star is one of those plays which was chosen through serendipity. I was reading plays in the days before Christmas, and I read this new two-hander by Steven Dietz and rather liked it, I saw the possibilities."

Curt: "It’s a warmhearted, generous romantic comedy, with very human details.''

The Odd Couple

Curt: "It's just so good. You know, there were lots of raised eyebrows when we announced Our Town three years ago. People said “Oh, I’ve seen that before, in high school.” Maybe The Odd Couple gets even less respect because it’s a comedy."

Craig: "It’s a very thoughtful and well written play. It stands as an American classic, and we’re proud to do it. Particularly because it was NOT an obvious choice for us! It says something that a lot of people may not expect, having experienced only the TV show, several generations removed from the original story."

The Syringa Tree

Craig: "This piece was written by and has been largely performed by Pamela Gien, about her experience growing up under apartheid in South Africa, leaving, and returning to South Africa after liberation. It’s especially attractive to me because I spent a couple of years working in South Africa right after liberation in the mid-1990s. As a nation, it’s a model for change and second chances, and third and fourth chances, which tends to be overlooked on our continent. Aside from all that, it’s just a beautiful piece of writing."

Curt: "It’s a lovely complement to The Odd Couple, strangely enough. The Odd Couple is a really well-made play. The Syringa Tree is almost a poem, sometimes, monologue or choral piece. It resides in the imagination, whereas The Odd Couple provides all the mechanics, if you will, for the thing itself. It’s a terrific balance, a great way to end the season, as Craig says. A beautiful complement to Cabaret, because it speaks about a second chance, when a second chance seemed impossible."

No comments: