Week 4 is the week for theatricality - with visions of hell, continuations of fairy tales and after a very long intermission; Act II of our lesbian, drag musical version of Romeo and Juliet. I’m so proud. No, really.
First up I saw Constriction by Jennifer Barclay, directed by Dara Malina, featuring Joey Faranda, Ava Kelley, Rachel Lin, Melanie Siegel, Jeanne Lauren Smith and Lizzie Stemper. So cool, so dark, so loud! We talked about the intensity, how to maintain it and yet give the audience time to take it in. We talked about the vulnerability of the characters whether they are good bad or ambivalent. These characters have the opportunity to be quite complex within the constraints of this ten minute play. Do we have time to see that? I think so. In the upcoming rehearsals the creative team will make the time.
The second play of the night Swallow It also by Jennifer Barclay, directed by Laura Hirschberg featuring Toccara Castleman, Lauren Hayes and Kevin Russo is a vision of what comes after the traditional fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. You may think you know. Well, this version is quite different. Yes, they did escape but not undamaged. Is the damage physical or psychological? I think I’d have to say both. You’ll have to see the play to find out more specifics. Laura and I also discussed character but focused more on relationship. We also had a lively talk about the time and place of this play. Oh, did I mention? The singing is great.
Finally I settled in to watch ACT II of Ampersand: A Romeo & Juliet Story by Mariah MacCarthy, directed by Amanda Thomspon, featuring Brigitte Choura, Doug Harvey, Lauren Hennessy, Jeremy Michael Lagunas, Teddy Lytle, Sarah Primmer, Kevin Reed and Jordan Tierney. Finally! Been waiting to see how this thing would play out since the last Forum! You do not want to miss this. You’ll be able to say “I was there when” about this one. Fabulous play, fabulous director. OK, it’s a workshop and it needs some polish. Characters, relationships, structure, logic, love, violence, reverse-gender acting, etc, etc, what didn’t we talk about? I know things will change in the next couple weeks but there are so many possibilities as to direction. Is Tybalt a monster or just a bit of a jerk? What kind of friend is Mercutio? What kind of mothers are Mrs. Capulet and Mrs. Montague? And….how deep is their love? Tune in June 24-27 to find out. Oh, I can’t talk about the singing in this one because I didn’t hear the songs last night, but it is indeed a musical. Can’t wait to hear what the composer/musical director has cooked up.
I have to thank the ADs Eva Gabrielle Schelbaum and Katherine Sommer for keeping the evening moving along. We weren’t always on time (partly thanks to my keys) but they were extremely helpful in making sure things kept going and we stayed on track, even starting the third play a little early !
Week 4 promises to be a fantastically theatrical culmination of a wonderfully diverse Forum.
THIS week we get to see some reinvented Shakespeare, too. Othello with a female Iago as part of week 2 opening on Thursday June, 10!
Founding Artistic Director, Looking Glass Theatre