A Classic Turns 50, and Parties Are Planned
In Santa Cruz, Calif., volunteers will re-enact every word and movement in the famous courtroom scene. In Monroeville, Ala., residents dressed in 1930s garb will read aloud from memorable passages. In Rhinebeck, N.Y., Oblong Books will host a party with Mocktails and recorded music by the indie band the Boo Radleys.
All summer “To Kill a Mockingbird” will be relived through at least 50 events around the country, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of a book that became a cultural touchstone and an enduring staple of high-school reading programs.
Archives for May 2010
We had three talkbacks last weekend. Here are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions and some possible answers.
Since the script doesn’t have any character names in it, how did you determine who said what?
That was a lengthy process that started when Matt (the director) decided how many and which actresses would be in each scene. Then, in the first rehearsal of each scene, we read the scene through a couple of times, with people just jumping in and reading whatever lines they liked. Then we talked about what the scene might mean, who the characters might be, what the given circumstances might be. Eventually, we found a few things to hold onto, and starting picking lines. Sometimes it was clear that certain lines all belonged to one character, usually not. Sometimes Matt just asked, “Who has a favorite line?” It was so up in the air, we just had to find a way to start, so almost any logic would do.
How much of the video imagery is indicated in the script?
None of it. Matt & Brant spent many weeks talking about what could be in the video, and the ideas developed right alongside the rest of the show.
Who is the woman all the characters are talking about?
Good question. We have some ideas, and if you see the show a couple of times, you might think she’s famous, or a terrorist, or an artists. Someone suggested that Anne is symbolic of life itself. Politically, we think it’s possible that she’s both a criminal and a victim. It’s hard to hold more than one idea in our heads at once, but sometimes this play asks you to do so.
Were the songs provided for you in the script?
The lines for those scenes look like lyrics, or poetry. It was Karl (choreographer) Rogers’ idea to turn them into music, and to feature Meghan (Durham Wall, a dancer). He also recruited Michael Wall (composer) to right the songs.
Is the scene with a table an homage to “The Green Table”?
The connection is there, though it’s not an homage. Karl did think about it as the scene developed. But it really came out of a collaboration with the actors in the moment.
Are there any given physical circumstances in the script?
None. You might look at this.
How many different foreign languages are spoken in the show?
8. Plus the language of dance. (Smiley face.)
What made you go with an all female cast?
Honestly, it’s hard to say. The idea occurred to Matt one day, and obviously it had something to do with the fact that it’s a woman at the center of the play, and the possibility that any of these women could be Anne at different points in the play. And the thought of a diverse group of powerful actresses was really appealing. (At one point, we thought there might be 12 people in the play.) Sometimes, though, we make artistic decisions just because our instincts tells us what’d be cool.
The Other Paper
A combination of drama, dance, movement, projected images and live video make this the most multimedia show the adventurous troupe has staged yet. But its main strength is its cast, which brings to life the numerous unnamed characters who either know or think they know Anne … It takes acting chops to bring out the underlying emotions in these anonymous characters’ lines, and they’re provided by Emily Bach, Meghan Durham, Susie Gerald, Ellen Knolls, Joyce Leahy, Krista Lively Stauffer, Shanelle Marie and Dayle Towarnicky
Director Matt Slaybaugh, the eight members of his all-female cast and their collaborators have shaped an absorbing evening of theater out of a text that gives absolutely no clue of setting, action, number of performers, who says what or any of the things we usually expect a play to present … The cast is uniformly excellent at leading the audience through Crimp’s maze. As he puts it, what they do is “more exacting than acting.”
Tony Auseon, our very own Boo Radley was recently featured in Upper Arlington Magazine in article about his work as a puppet designer for theatre companies, especially the Phoenix Theatre for Children.
Here’s a choice cut:
“I’ve always been sucked into the imaginary world. I’m pretty introverted and maybe that’s why I’m comfortable expressing myself through couch cushions or butter containers or puppets. There is a little magic to puppets,” Auseon says. “They create this world that can do so much more than entertain, they can enrich.”
Read the whole article here: UA Magazine
If Pablo Picasso had been a playwright, he might have conceived a portrait of a woman as complex, intriguing and elusive as Attempts on Her Life…
Available Light Theatre has delivered a brilliantly staged Ohio premiere of the 1997 London drama. Under Matt Slaybaugh’s smooth direction, the production blends movement, monologue, dance, music, multimedia projections and a deft tapestry of thumbnail performances to plumb the mysteries of female identity in today’s ever-shifting global culture…
The fascination and occasional frustration of this collage piece is figuring out who Anne might be based on the overlapping but often contradictory conversations about her in 17 divergent scenes…
Despite the brevity and opacity of most multiple roles, these vivacious actresses chart a mostly clear course through Crimp’s often-murky script…
Brant Jones’ intricate video projections and Dave Wallingford’s evocative sound design notably enhance Available Light’s imaginative production…
Read it all here and pass it on: http://bit.ly/aohlrev1