Thursday, January 26, 2006

Theatrical Coincidences

As many of you know, when I'm not Pressing The Flesh, I work as a free-lance theatrical director and collaborator. While my ensemble, Funkopolis, has been in the planning stages for a new production, I've been taking on several new projects as of late. As a person working in the arts, it always strikes me as peculiar how coincidences seem to pop up.

Several years ago (I'll date myself if I said how many), I was working on a production of Arthur Kopit's Wings. For those not familiar with the show, Wings "...details the strange, terrifying, shattered world of a woman who we realize, as the play unfolds and the pieces of the beautifully constructed mosaic begin to fall into place, has suffered a stroke." Not exactly the lightest of shows, but beautifully written.

As we were in the midst of rehearsal for the production, we found out that another theatre in town was mounting their own production of Wings. Typically, it's rare for two theatres in the same city to mount the same show in a single season, let alone scheduling it at almost the same time.

After a little bit more investigation, I heard rumor that they were actually doing the "musical" version of the show. At first, I thought it was a joke, but it turned out to be true.

Keeping in mind the subject matter of the show and everything, I found it staggering to try and conceive of Wings being turned into a musical, but there it was. I have yet to hear the music for the show, so I'm still not really sure about the quality, but there it was.

Fast forward to present day.

I have just begun working on Emily Mann's adaptation of Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba, and have been very excited about it, as the cast is very talented and the design elements and production values for the show are going to have a very contemporary feel to them.

The House of Bernarda Alba is set in a rural village in Spain at the turn of this century. Bernarda and her daughters live a sheltered existence following the death of their father. Under the scrutiny of the community around them - a community bound by tradition and strict morality, Bernarda feels the need to protect the reputation of the family, and represses her daughters by enforcing an eight year mourning period. The tensions build rapidly among the imprisoned women, oppressing them to the point of suffocation.

Again, a little heavy... especially for a show slated to open in the cold, dreary month of February.

Well, once again, here comes the musical. As it turns out, Lincoln Center Theater is set to premiere the musical adaptation of Lorca's masterpiece, opening February 11 - exactly 12 days prior to the opening of my production.

The LCT production features true talent in the cast, with the likes of Phylicia Rashad and Daphne Rubin-Vega gracing the stage. Still, I just can't imagine just a heavy show being turned into a musical. To be sure, this will be no Cosby Show or Rent, but I'm intrigued nonetheless.

Intrigued, and always fascinated by the coincidences.

Posted by FleshPresser at 8:31 PM /


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