Friday photo rescue

From the new batch of photos for Resurrection Blues, which opens this Sunday, here’s a shot we dubbed Felix vs. the Intercom:

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Prop Lobsters (with video)

The script of Resurrection Blues calls for lobsters in scene five, to be eaten by Felix and Emily as the scene opens on them finishing their elegant meal. For a small-budget Non-Equity theatre company, this is a challenge to solve, and our props designer Kim Lyle not only solved it beautifully (with the essential help of my fantastic sister in Maine who donated and shipped four live Maine lobsters!), but also documented her adventure in the brilliant video below:

Friday photo rescue

A brand new photo, from the theater as we prepare for Resurrection Blues, here’s a shot of Set Designer Steph Charaska’s scenic art in an early stage of the process – there are more photos on the Flickr set, and I’ll put up a full post about these wonderful set pieces soon …

Thoughts on the Resurrection

As difficult as it is, the old saying is true – the show must go on, and for me personally it’s been an important part of the healing process to get back to the work of exploring this challenging and beautiful script. Rehearsals have been going very well this week, and we’re starting to get a sense of what this play needs to be and what we need to be working on over the next four weeks.

I’m working on the Director’s Note for the program now, trying to find a way to articulate the important place that Resurrection Blues has in Arthur Miller’s body of work, and the importance that this story has for me personally.

Since I first found this play at the library downtown, I felt strongly that it needed to begin our Arthur Miller Season. The style of the writing is in some ways very recognizably Miller – the rhythms and language share the technical beauty and emotional resonance of his most popular works, and the ideas are huge and complicated, leaving audiences with a lot to talk about and process on the way home. In many ways, though, this is a very different kind of play from what we traditionally think of as an Arthur Miller play – it is, most obviously, a comedy, and a very funny one, that satirizes politics, religion and media with no punches pulled. It is also a very contemporary play, written in 2002 and set firmly in the present.

What fascinated me the most, though, is that this play is, in my, mind, a mature and reverent exploration of faith from an artist who wrestled with a sense of bitterness towards religion in many of his plays. Despite all the humor (much of which comes in the form of blasphemy), this is a story of our common cultural search for a true and deep sense of the divine and a powerful personal relationship with a faith that feels more universal than any specific religion.

Now more than ever, this is a play that I’m grateful to have the opportunity to explore, for myself and for Arthur Miller fans as we begin the season.

First rehearsal

The 2010 Arthur Miller Season officially began last night, with the first rehearsal of Resurrection Blues, scheduled to open (as a Chicago Premiere!) on March 28th at the Greenhouse Theater in Lincoln Park. After two years of celebrating our first decade of playwrights, it was exciting for all of us to return to the “One Playwright, One Season” format and kick off our year-long journey with Arthur Miller.

First read through of Resurrection Blues

With a small audience of subscribers and friends, the cast dove into the script with a fantastic first read through, exploring the rhythms, humor and big ideas in Miller’s penultimate play. The story, which satirizes politics, media and faith in a very contemporary setting, shows a different side of the playwright, even as it explores the themes that resonate throughout Miller’s work. And this cast – a wonderful group of talented actors who are all passionate about this script – had a blast playing with those themes.

Now the real work begins – we’ll spend the next few days sitting around a table talking, asking questions, and maybe finding some answers, and then we’ll start putting scenes on their feet and see where they take us over the next five weeks. Stay tuned for more thoughts, photos from rehearsals, and videos as we go along.

First photo from Resurrection Blues

We start rehearsals for the Chicago Premiere of Arthur Miller’s 2002 play Resurrection Blues in just two short days – here’s a sneak peek from this past weekend’s photo shoot – more to come soon …