If you’ve read my previous posts via Facebook Notes or are familiar with the region in which I direct, you will understand the proclivities of the mentioned producing bodies, and my own preferences and prejudices. Thus is the lens through which I review and/or analyze my readings.
If you have not been previously informed please read on:
I am a white, non-Hispanic, middle-class, practicing Roman Catholic, 48 year old husband and father of two daughters. I was born in Long Island, NY and raised in Central/South Florida (East coast, pop. 30,000). I graduated from Catholic grade school and high school. I received a BFA in Theatre from a large private university. I interned at a noted regional theatre and pursued a theatrical career in Florida, New York and Illinois for 5 years before my marriage in 1993. After several attempts to find out what I want to be when I grow up, I earned my MSW from a large public university in the Mid West while being an at-home father for my daughter and providing daycare for 2 other children. I am currently a school social worker in rural North Central Illinois. In that past 21 years, I have been blessed to work with some well-established community theatres, some fledgling organizations, my own improv company (now retired), and a professional summer stock company in residence within walking distance of my doorstep. I have lived in Miami, Manhattan, Chicago, and a rural town of 800. I now live in semi-rural North Central Illinois city (pop. 7500) that friends say reminds them of Pleasantville (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120789/).
This blog will analyze plays in reference to their possible production in my local theatrical venues. The institution where I most often direct/perform is a well-established community theatre with an excellent facility and strong subscriber base. This institution most often produces safer productions which you could list from theatrical history without my assistance and a smattering of fad farces. They have been brave enough to mount Death of a Salesman, ‘Night Mother, Amadeus and Proof (1995) in the last 20 years. This past summer, they had a special non-subscription weekend run (what is locally called “a fifth show”) of Rent (19 years after the original production). Bravery exists, but has waned with the recent economy, a conservative, older subscriber base and a board who must answer to both the patrons and the recurring needs of leaking roofs and drafty windows. What is acceptable, even expected, on Broadway stages and regional theatres in the last 20 years has fast outdistanced the acceptability equations of our community in both content and multiculturalism. Our African-American and recent immigrant Latino populations are growing but have not yet equitably folded into the larger culture. Our theatres have no regular black actors and only a few Latinos.
With all this in mind, my goal is to find and produce theatre with which my community can identify and by which it can be inspired. Moreover, if I’m going to leave the house for 3 hours a day, 3-4 days per week for 8 weeks, and drive 30 minutes each way, sometimes in winter, and get up at 4am to workout before I go to work 50 minutes from home…it better be worth my (and my family’s) time.
I am ALWAYS looking for suggestions of plays to read. I like to direct play’s that are not stupid . I like cerebral. I’ll take witty. I’ll take well-crafted farce. I’ve got to get it produced here Pleasantville. That often means that nobody dies that anybody cares about. The language can’t go as far as the F bomb. I refuse to censor scripts. I prefer casts of 10 and under. I prefer plays set ANYWHERE else but The Northeast. I prefer American playwrights. I prefer a time period of 1920 to the present. HERE WE GO!