The Romance of Rehearsal

April 17, 2009

There are two different farces going on at Zero Church Street: David Mamet’s Romance, and the zany process of actually trying to rehearse it. This group of company members and students could make me laugh at the phone book. But Romance has an unbelievable amount of shtick per page. There’s a seemingly endless stream of material for us to mine.

Right now, we’re spending most of our time decoding Mamet’s text. The dialogue of Romance is an incredibly intricate road map of pauses, periods, and commas. The process can be tiring, but the resulting dialogue is lively, dense, and worth the effort. Today, we spent three hours on just one section of one scene. Tommy Derrah, fresh off our production of Endgame, remarked that “this stuff is harder to crack than Beckett.” Fellow Endgamers Will LeBow and Remo Airaldi chuckled in agreement.

What constantly impresses me as I watch Scott Zigler and the cast tackle the text is the sheer ambition of Mamet’s dramaturgy. Most contemporary playwrights focus on two or three person dialogue. Mamet’s own most famous hits (Glengarry Glen Ross, American Buffalo) revolve around two-handed scenes. But for Romance’s courtroom scenes, which make up most the text, Mamet keeps five to seven characters fully engaged in the action at all times. Continuously developing this entire cast of characters is a huge feat, and unpacking these rich scenes is keeping us plenty busy.


EXPERIENCE THE A.R.T. – 09/10 season

April 15, 2009

Welcome to 2009-10 at the A.R.T.! I am so excited to introduce the 09/10 season, and our new initiative:


You will see these words a lot. To me, theater is more than simply the play on the stage: it’s a ritual, a place for people to come and gather—a function of community. Next season is designed with this in mind, and is programmed around two festivals: Shakespeare Exploded! and America: Boom, Bust, and Baseball. Each festival will be enhanced by readings, discussions, art exhibits, and opportunities to socialize, dine, and even dance together.

FESTIVAL No. 01 – Shakespeare Exploded!

We open our 2009-10 season with Shakespeare Exploded!, a festival of radical new works inspired by three classic plays by Shakespeare. Dance to all the 70’s hits you know by heart at The Donkey Show, a disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that unfolds around you as a nightclub fantasy. Then experience your own sensory journey as you enter the world of Sleep No More, an immersive “adventure theater” work inspired by Macbeth and Hitchcock’s thrillers. Celebrate the holidays with Best of Both Worlds, an R&B and gospel musical that takes its story from The Winter’s Tale. Before you see Best of Both Worlds, make sure to catch the A.R.T. Institute’s limited run of the Shakespeare play The Winter’s Tale in early October.

FESTIVAL No. 02 – America: Boom, Bust, and Baseball

America: Boom, Bust, and Baseball explores the hopes, disappointments, and triumphs of the past American century from the roaring twenties to the Great Depression to the Boston Red Sox’s stunning 2004 World Series victory. We begin with the boom—Gatz brings every word of Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby to life in this once-in-a-lifetime marathon theatrical experience. The bust is Clifford Odets’ Paradise Lost, a powerful drama about an American family who loses everything in the throes of economic crisis. Spring is baseball season, and we’ll be staging the world premiere of Red Sox Nation, an exhilarating new musical that explores the source of the infamous Curse and the secret to its end by blending fiction, fact, and the mystical power of the game.

I am thrilled to invite you to immerse yourself in the A.R.T. experience alongside me next season—from attending, to contributing to active discussions online, to having a post-performance snack with your seatmates, to sharing your creative responses to our work with our community. I look forward to welcoming you to the theater!

Warm regards,
Diane Paulus, Artistic Director

Trojan Barbie – Barbie Doll art opening photos

April 11, 2009

A few photos from our Trojan Barbie Barbie Doll art exhibit opening event at SPACE 242. These and other fine art masterpieces inspired by or made with Barbie Dolls will be on display at SPACE 242 through April 17. Gallery Hours: Friday evenings 6:30-8 p.m. and by appointment. Co-sponsored by The Weekly Dig. Photos by Derek Kouyoumjian.

Online Hubbub: Trojan Barbie

March 27, 2009

Let us know what you thought!

Playwright Christine Evans said, “I’m not interested in simply taking a play and dressing it in modern clothes without creating a real dialogue between the past and the present.”  How did this dialogue between the past and the present resonate for you?

Please feel free to share any other thoughts on the production.

Online Hubbub: Endgame

February 13, 2009

Let us know what you thought!

While directing a German production of  Endgame, Beckett told his actors, “I would like as much laughter as possible in this play.  It is a playful piece.”  Did anything amuse you about the characters’ situation?

Please feel free to share any other thoughts on the production.

Scenes from The Seagull

January 26, 2009

The Seagull slideshow

January 22, 2009

Photos by Michael Lutch from the production of Chekhov’s classic on stage now through Feb. 1 2009 at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, MA.

Dreams born and shattered, loves won and lost… The Seagull paints a rich and tumultuous portrait of the human heart.

“Powerful and astute performances…a fascinating portrait…exciting work… that’s what theater needs—now, and no doubt 200,000 years from now, too.”
—Louise Kennedy, The Boston Globe

Online Hubbub: The Seagull

January 8, 2009

Let us know what you thought!

Did director János Szász’s staging change any of your ideas about Chekov?

János Szász is primarily a film director.  What seemed cinematic about the production to you?  How is the experience of live theatre different from seeing a film?

The young playwright Konstantin Treplev wants to create a theatre of the future.  What is your vision of a theatre of the future?

Other comments?

The Seagull envisions the theatre of the future

January 7, 2009

Anton Chekhov’s groundbreaking play The Seagull opens with Konstantin Treplev’s passionate cry for “…new forms! We need new forms, and if we can’t have them, then we’re better off with no theater at all.” Konstantin’s play-within-the-play is a challenge to old forms and an attempt to expand the boundaries of what theatre can be.

What is YOUR vision of the theatre of the future? What new forms do you think theatre will take?

Online Hubbub: Aurélia’s Oratorio, Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 6, 2009

If you could learn how to perform one of Aurélia’s tricks, which one would it be and why?

“I liked most when she was an acrobat in the curtains, high above the stage.  It was very elegant and metaphorical.”—Nancy L

“It would not be one of her “tricks”, it would be her grace of movement that I would wish for.”—Susan W

“I would like to fly across the stage on the end of the kite string, not really a trick, but it looks like fun.”—NancyPoet

“Walking and spinning in and out of a coat with a partner.”—tessam

“I wouldn’t really want to learn how to do any of them.  I’m happy just to watch them and I think it’s more magical if you don’t try to understand how they all work. I love the duet with the male actor in which they took off each other’s jacket (I’d like to learn how to make that look so interesting) and I also really liked the duet with them wearing one jacket and one pair of pants.”—jeremy

“Flying on the drapes.”—david p

“How to make my foot disappear and then knit it back.”—jan r.

“How to dance with your arms and feet.  I found it fascinating.”—Ada N.

“Any and all acrobatic skills!”—James C

“How to disintegrate like sand and then come back.”—James F.

“How to dance sideways and backwards in shared pants.”—julie pm

“All the parts to the dresser (opener)-loved the casual pace it took, and the cleverness of it.”—Melissa S.

If you could ask Aurélia to bring a dream to life for you, what would it be?

“The dream of performing with her.”—Edrie

“Being able to work with her and take part in her fabulous creative process from conception to show.”—tessam

“Flying.”—Nancy L

“Fly with love.”—david p

“My father, back from the dead for a few minutes…”—jan r.

“Being weightless.”—Ada N.

“Does she ever date audience members? 😉  Seriously though, there were some subtle, dark themes in the show (e.g. aggressive puppets, loss of limbs, violent jackets), and it would be interesting to see her explore things like that for a more “adult-oriented” performance.”—James C

“I would let her decide.”—Susan W

“Letting more people discover and enjoy art.”—James F.

“Upside down tight-roping. I know she can do it!   Floating on clouds. I am sure she can do it!”—julie pm

“To fly in a magical flying machine.”—Melissa S.

Victoria Chaplin was inspired to create this production by illustrations from a book about a world turned upside down. What elements of inversion did you notice in the production?

“The inversion was solely based on the audience – once we were inverted, everything else was normal though not expected.”—Edrie

“The two most memorable were the shadow with a man who mimicked his every move, and the kite that flew Aurelia, but all of them were quite entertaining.”—James C.

“The hot ice cream. The shadow that was upright. The puppet show for the puppets. The change required of the audience to be more active to work for answers.”—James F.

“The kite flying Aurelia, the shadow standing up, her face moving while the fan was still.”—NancyPoet

“Many…flowers, puppet show, chair.”—tessam

“The act in which there were two people that were making a shadow.  It was like we were looking horizontally at this shadow that was being reflected on the ground, except that the thing was real. That was the main one I noticed but there were definitely others.”—Jeremy

“Flowers upside down, the shadow leading the man, clothes leading or attacking people, the puppet show with the puppets in the audience, the kite flying the person, many others.”—Nancy L

“Flowers inside flowerpot, shoes on hands, shoes in coat rack, hanging upside down, walking upside down, riding in chairlift upside down…”—jan r.

“Climbing down from above, sitting on a chair upside down, things appear from another part of the stage the moment after they are thrown away, pants are on the arms, coat is inverted from one side to another, body turns into sand and sand into body.”—Ada N.

“I loved climbing the rope down to safety.   Don’t forget the taxi ride and players with boot-hats on their heads!”—julie pm

“Man/shadow; flowers in vase upside down; clothes inside out; character walking on hands; baby smoking.”—Melissa S.

Aurélia’s mother directed her in this production.  What artistic creations have you made with your family (in public or at home)?

“We made a video of the 3 Stooges episode “Men in Black” with roles played by extended family members ages 3 to 83.”—jan r.

“When I was a child I used to put together puppet shows and also magic trick shows with my best friend for our parents.”—Ada N.

“We create ‘turkey art’ every thanksgiving.  Each year, we all use a different medium (clay, printing, watercolor, wood, wires etc.) that is the main one.”—jeremy

“My entire family is invovled in my art – visual and musical    We have also toured with the Tiger Lillies just as Aurélia has.”—Edrie

“My daughters are now gown and play cello and violin professionally.  As children, they used to put on elaborate plays in the basement for which they wrote their own songs and always got their younger brother to dress in outlandish costumes.”—NancyPoet

“Baking cookies and caramels.”—tessam

“Family of musicians play together.”—david p

“Our artistic creations have been in the line of food.”—Susan W

“To be honest and live life.  (My three kids loved the show.)”—James F.

“My mother costume designed shows on Block Island in which my sister performed while I held important audience posts.  My sister still performs. I direct my own and many children in school and community plays.”—julie pm

“Traditional crafts handed down-quilting, needleworking.  Music-dulcimer and fiddle.”—Melissa S.