Post-show discussion – Saturday, August 5

A few quick notes from Saturday’s discussion – it was a smaller group that stuck around after the show, but it was one of our best conversations so far.

An audience member asked Anish how he was able to work with the actors to create the “covert insecurities” each character seems to have. As a director, you can’t really focus directly on those insecurities (or any other character traits) – instead Anish described the process of what we call table work; he spent the first week or two of rehearsals sitting down with the actors and picking through the script line by line, finding the truth and reality underneath the dialogue and the relationships. By exploring the dynamics of those relationships and the motivations behind specific lines, that quality that this audience member identified as “insecurity” develops organically.

An interesting question came up that we’ve been wrestling with as a theatre company for some time now – how do we convince our audiences to think outside of the normal approach to theatre, to commit to this season-long journey of a playwright’s works with us. For those audience members who have done this, I think it’s been a rich and rewarding experience; we’ve had a few instances of people who have been at post-show discussions for all three productions in a season, and they’ve talked about the joy they’ve found in exploring a playwright in such a comprehensive way. Each playwright attracts a different audience for this journey, and we’re working on ways to encourage audiences to “think outside the box,” as this audience member put it, and join us each season for each journey. If anyone has ideas, by all means, let us know.

I’m headed back to the theater now, so I’ll have to cut this short – we also talked about Simon’s non-presence on stage, the oversimplification of talking about race and not talking about class, culture, education, etc., the structure of short scenes, and more. I’ll try to come back to some of these issues later. 

One comment I do want to make sure I don’t miss: an audience member summarized the play by saying that the “universal failure [of these characters] is their inability to deal with issues as being complex.” An interesting thought.

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