April has been a month in between major projects full of travel and catching productions other places, so I have plenty of new things to blog about — hooray! The standout of this month was undoubtedly a week across the pond in London, with sightseeing highlights featured below:
Top row: St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tea at Harrod’s, Buckingham Palace
Middle row: Highclere Castle, Noël Coward Theatre, Rosetta Stone at the British Museum
Bottom row: The Old Vic, Winston Churchill’s estate at Chartwell, Trafalgar Square
Quote of the Month
“A mass of music and fire, that’s me.”
- Margo Channing, All About Eve
Current & Upcoming
I’m excited to announce that my next directing project will be a one act for the Barn Solstice Showcase One Act Festival, held at the Barn Theatre of Montville, NJ in mid-June! We start rehearsals in a few weeks, and rumor has it my piece will involve pirates . . . But first, I cannot wait to return to the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center for the first time since the summer I spent there two years ago! In early May I will be participating in their weekend-long Young Playwrights Festival as a dramaturg, helping a high school playwright to navigate the new play development and workshop process.
Fasten Your Seatbelts Much as I’d always be happy to visit London, one of main reasons for planning this trip when I did was to catch the production of All About Eve playing for just a couple more weeks at the Noël Coward Theatre on the West End. Ivo van Hove’s new stage adaptation features an interesting combination of a script quite close to that of the classic film (with a few new surprises) juxtaposed against a contemporary staging including the use of several projection screens, which allow the audience to watch the performers on live camera in moments when they are on parts of the set that would traditionally be offstage. I have mixed feelings about this clever but at times distracting hybrid approach, but the acting among the principals — including Olivier Award winner for Best Supporting Actress Monica Dolan, and a very solid Lily James as Eve — is unarguably top-notch. Now I’ll be honest in noting that I was a fan long before this production, but in this play about vying stars there is no question: it is Gillian Anderson’s thoughtfully layered and sympathetic, yet without losing any of the character’s iconic flair and edge, portrayal of Margo Channing that makes this production a true must-see. Here’s hoping for a New York transfer with the original cast!
American Realism . . . in England
Rather by chance I ended up seeing two different plays by Arthur Miller while in London: a West End production of The Price at the Wyndham Theatre and an early preview of the Old Vic production of All My Sons. This was my first experience with The Price, a less-produced work which features many of Miller’s traditional themes without escalating to a full tragic scale, but it was fascinating to revisit All My Sons in a new environment. My previous exposure to the play comes from assistant stage managing a production during college, in which the director focused heavily on establishing the play’s period setting just after the second world war. By comparison the Old Vic production emphasized parallels between past and present, and firmly established the play’s specifically American setting for a British audience, by projecting the current US news over the set during pre-show.
Throwback – April 2015
Four years ago this very month we opened our Kenyon Drama department production of All My Sons, my first time working on an Arthur Miller play.
Bolton Theater, Kenyon College
Scenic & Lighting Design by Rebecca Wolf