Theater Thursday – August 3

hpim0352.jpgThe League of Chicago Theatres joined us for Theater Thursday this past week, and we spent some time talking to to the audience over some pretty good pizza before the show. Pretty good delivered pizza, since it’s a show set on a college campus (we had hot dogs and cracker jacks for The Sweetest Swing in Baseball; I swear this isn’t how we choose our shows).

To the right, Spinning into Butter director Anish Jethmalani poses with our 2006 season while talking to audience members.

We talked about Rebecca Gilman, Pearl Cleage, past playwrights and future plans as we ate our pizza and mingled before the show began. After the play, we turned to the issues in the script.

Someone asked a question about the origin of the play – what gave Rebecca Gilman inspiration for the story, as well as the sensitivity to explore the issues of racism. We know that a similar story has played out on several college and high school campuses, and at least one of those did inspire the events of Spinning into Butter, but we can’t really answer the second part of that question. I did say, though, that I was first drawn to Rebecca’s plays by her ability to to write about an issue with high personal and political stakes, and explore it from a wide range of honest and frequently surprising perspectives.

The actors were asked again if they felt conflicted or uncomfortable with some of the dialogue or opinions that their characters have. It’s a question that’s relevant for any character you play as an actor – you’re always committing to something outside your personal beliefs and instincts, and that’s what makes it so much fun – and it’s a really interesting question in the context of this story of political correctness and semi-conscious racism. A few cast members answered, talking about the importance of having empathy for the characters they’re playing, the process of discovering that empathy during rehearsals, and the need to commit completely to those characters.

hpim0353.jpgAfter the show, audience members who had come to the Theater Thursday event got a quick tour of the backstage area. It would have been a longer tour, but it’s a pretty small area. Fortunately, we were all good friends by then.

On the left, another shot of the pre-show discussion, in the lobby outside the theater. 

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One Response

  1. Gabriel

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Some of them are really interesting

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