Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Forum 2010- Notes from Justine – Week 3

Notes from Justine
Forum Rehearsal 11/22/10

As I was leaving my Week Three observations last night, Assistant Director/Stage Managers Ashley Scoles and Elizabeth Swearingen and I all noted how this week is the most diverse group of plays this Forum. Two of the pieces are realistic tales with similar subject matter but one of the directors is not content with realism and has made embellishments of her own. The third play (that will be sandwiched in between them) is a light comedy based on the Adam and Eve story.

The first piece I saw was Clean by Nina Mansfield, directed by Laura Hirschberg, featuring Jake Miller, Taylor Miller & Erin Neufer*.

This slice of life in real time takes place in.....a church basement. So establishing location shouldn't be too difficult! Two people run into each other in the middle of the night; one has a desperate reason for being there, the other a casual one but they are connected through the addiction they share. This uneasy subject gives them a basis for a relationship. When the Pastor arrives it becomes clear that he may indeed share this painful secret with them as well. Our talented acting intern Erin Neufer and her co-stars are exploring different aspects of their characters while working together to form relationships in this uncomfortable, hopeful depiction of the struggle with alcoholism.

Juice by Nancy Gall-Clayton, directed by Yoleidy Rosario, featuring Tessa Reynolds, Delnaaz Irani and Joshua Mahaffey is a drama about…an alcoholic.

Thematically related to Clean, this play goes at the issue from a different place. This is about family and fear. Additionally Yoleidy has added a framing device that explores the inner psyche of the main character in the play. This exciting theatricality makes the piece’s tone completely different and yet they grapple with the same weakness in humanity. Theme nights are not our usual choice in the Forum but the illumination of both how multifaceted this issue is and how multifaceted our theatrical art form is in addressing it is an excellent argument in favor of choosing plays connected by subject matter.

Adam's Angels by Jacquelyn Priskorn, directed by Katherine Sommer, featuring Leigh Adel-Arnold, Scott Andrews, Jacob Lasser, Josh Martin, Caroline Ritchie & Elizabeth Wessa will be performed between the two plays described above giving us a touch of comic relief that may help us absorb the heavier content of the others.

Seeing Clean and Juice back to back made for a specific experience. Not a bad one at all. It had definite advantages but I’m guessing putting Adam’s Angels in the center, like a creamy filling, will be even better. This stylized comedy about Adam and Eve takes a modern approach, telling the bible story in a tongue in cheek manner. Gently poking fun at the concept of Woman as mere companion for Man the play has all of the Angels depicting aspects of humanity. If they are stereotypical they are nonetheless accurate in their comic representations of just a few of the possible types of companions Adam might have had. The team is clearly having a blast and will continue to explore the comic potential in this confection.

Assistant Director/Stage Managers Ashley Scoles and Elizabeth Swearingen were with me the whole way and are certainly enjoying a theatrical workout by participating in these three unique processes! I thank them for their work and insight all night long.

Week Three of the Winter 2010 Writer/Director Forum opens on December 16. I’m excited to re-experience this combination. It should be quite a ride!

Justine Lambert
Founding Artistic Director

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