Seven shows this year. Three were for Sting & Honey, and four were for Waterford: The Servant of Two Masters, Hedda Gabler, Uncle Vanya, The Private Ear, Sleeping Beauty’s Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and This Bird of Dawning Singeth All Night Long.
The Servant of Two Masters
We had great fun with this piece, making it as silly as possible. We used beautiful leather Commedia masks, and the Commedia work itself was zanier than the tepid Goldoni ever dared. An audience favorite.
This was the first Sting & Honey play of the year. I am so proud of it. My cast and crew pulled it off brilliantly. The play is Ibsen’s masterpiece, and much more complex and challenging than the propaganda plays of his middle period. A very modern play, it is nevertheless structured as an ancient Greek fertility rite, highlighting the tension between Dionysus and Diana.
Moving from Hedda to Vanya was so interesting. As different as the plays (and playwrights) are, the similarities are striking. Each major character in Vanya has its counterpart in Hedda. More on that in another post. This production was the second Chekhov play I’ve done with my Waterford students. The first was The Seagull. Both were among the best plays we’ve done. People think it’s crazy that I do Chekhov with my students. Rubbish. I push them to engage with the great works of theater. And only Shakespeare is greater than Chekhov. The results have been profound for the students involved, for me as a director, and for our audiences. This production of Vanya was all at once hilarious and heartbreaking, just as a Chekhov play should be.
The Private Ear
The second Sting & Honey play of the year was a first for our new company in that it’s a contemporary piece. It’s usually performed with a companion play called The Public Eye. But I’ve always found The Public Eye to be an annoying distraction from the beauty of The Private Ear, so I nixed it. This play begins to ask questions that have no clear answers, but then abandons the questions altogether in favor of high ritual. The final sequence of the play is one of the most beautiful moments in contemporary drama. Again, my cast and crew pulled it off brilliantly.
Sleeping Beauty’s Dream
I have grown to love theater for young audiences. This year I wrote a new version of the Sleeping Beauty story. You can read more about that here. Expect to see this one performed by adults for children in a Sting & Honey production.
The Merry Wives of Windsor
More excellent silliness, and another audience favorite. We had so much fun with this play. Like our approach to The Servant of Two Masters, we went all in for laughs. But like Hedda, Merry Wives is structured on ritual. You can read more about that here.
This Bird of Dawning Singeth All Night Long
This was our seventh annual performance of this piece. I can’t believe that. It was nice to finally have the Salt Lake Tribune there. “It is almost impossible to describe its impact.” –Barbara M. Bannon. After seven years, I still agree.
It’s been a great year. Next week we begin rehearsals for Our Town. What a great way to begin 2015. Happy New Year.