The response to my play

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:42 am

The response to my play has been overwhelmingly positive. I actually had no idea up until the first audience watched it how it would go over. I’m very, very pleased. For those of you far away and not able to come watch, here’s my director’s notes:

�[This Durang play] is so filled with non sequiturs that you have to do each thing with total conviction � if you try to look for a stream of consciousness like you would with any other playwright, it would just get in the way.� Thus spoke Dana Ivey, who first played the Nanny at the American Repertory Theatre. This is true for the actors; it is true for me as director; it is also true for you as audience member. Baby With the Bathwater is a challenging play for everyone involved. It�s not often you see such a play presented in Community Theater � these kinds of things are usually reserved for universities and edgy professional theaters � but I think it�s very good to do this type of show from time to time.

You are probably reading this before you�ve actually seen the show, wondering what I�m going on about. Christopher Durang is well known for taking an aspect of society and making us think about it by presenting extreme examples of how things could really be. His hit Sister Mary Ignatious Explains It All For You took on organized religion. This play takes on a topic that�s been brought to the forefront by politics recently: the family. And in true Durang style, we�ve been given a family that�s easy to laugh at because it�s gone so terribly, terribly wrong while simultaneously offending us for the very same reason. You point and laugh, and feel guilty for doing so. Even worse, you�re likely to spot yourself in some of what gets presented.

Durang hasn�t held back. Everything about family life is fair game. Some scenes you may agree with, while others may hit too close to home or make you angry. That�s good! That�s the power of theater. People used to riot, overthrow governments, and hold debates after watching theater. While I�m not advocating violent revolution, I am sad that the overwhelming majority of what we see today is weak �feel good� stories and mindless entertainment. And of course I don�t just mean live theater, but also movies and television. It�s good to see something provocative from time to time. It reaffirms what we are doing right as a society and point out areas where we could do better. Don�t be afraid, though � I think this is a mighty funny script. I hope you laugh a lot. It�ll only sting a little.

This is a small cast (especially by Town & Gown standards), but it took many more people than you see to make this show happen. I�ve tried to list them all in the credits (If you helped and I forgot to mention you, I�m sorry. Thank you so much for your help.), but a few people I need to thank more. I designed the set, but Ben Teague was able to take my ideas and build them. His ability to take scribblings on the back of a napkin and make something that works the first time continues to amaze me. Beth Kozinsky is my first-ever assistant director, and now I wonder how I ever went without. Bill Akin made business cards for everyone, helping with the publicity effort and making the cast feel like professionals. Steve Wildey and Amy Crow continue to be the best. Chris Johnson is beyond words. And the Cast. I asked them to attend two set calls, and they came nearly to all of them. I gave them a schedule made tight by the holidays, and they came out enough ahead that the final week was anything but stressful. They took my concepts and ideas and created characters that are (I�m certain) exactly as Durang intended. Thank you, everyone.

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