I have been asked from time to time what my favorite play is that I've worked on. The question reflects our culture's need, perhaps, to quantify and rate everything. It's like a favorite food or color or piece of music or person or place; I think trying to determine a #1 of any of these diminishes the opportunities to relish in all that we're offered to enjoy. In the case of my favorite play (just like color, or place, or music) the one I'm currently working on is the one I'm embracing, not as a favorite, but simply welcoming the opportunity to be stimulated and nourished and challenged and comforted and...
GRAND HORIZONS is the current meal I'm chewing on and savoring. I'm challenged by the task of both directing and acting. (I say I'm not going to do this again because it's just too tricky to do so and neither the acting nor the directing get full attention; but here I am once again.) Thankfully I've had two sets of eyes that have helped tremendously in the process. Noyes Lawton has been assisting with the direction—as well as with the set building. He's directed some of the rehearsals when I've been unable to (Covid and other challenges) as well as sitting in the audience and offering insight . Barbara Biddison has been a great help in both running lines with various characters as well as viewing rehearsals from the audience side and offering her perspectives.
The cast of this show is remarkably astute and eager to dig into this script and these characters and how they relate to the others. I really think each of these actors could direct a play well as evidenced by their comments. It's clear they have explored and continue to explore these characters and situations. I've had in-person as well as messenger and text conversations with each of them: Sarah, Tim, Alex, Jeremy, Kathryn, Angel.
As I've quoted often before, Lauren Gunderson says that theatre's superpower is empathy. Theatre offers an opportunity to truly crawl around in another's skin and see the world from her/her/their perspective and learn from that differing perspective. This provides an immeasurably valuable opportunity for growth and acceptance and understanding. Where else can you get such a chance?
As our culture becomes more and more polarized, the need for understanding and tolerance and just plain ol' getting along with others is crucial. I know the audience does not have the hours of living with these characters as the cast has, but the simple act of actually attending a performance of a play that involves characters that are in situations different from your own is a huge step in being open to the possibility of growth and understanding and tolerance. I'm really looking forward to our pre-show talks as well as our post-show talk-backs. See you soon...and we can chew together and enjoy the meal.
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