THE MAY QUEEN CHRONICLES: Now We Are Here by Thomas Putnam
We look at scores of scripts every year in order to fashion a season. I haven't calculated, but I wouldn't be surprised if 85% of those we consider we never produce. Of that remaining 15% we choose the few shows that will comprise the next season. Sometimes when I peruse a script I can tell within a few pages that I just don't connect with it. It could be the subject matter; it could be poor writing; it could be a less-than-engaging story line. I try to plow through to the end, however, because...well, it ain't over 'till it's over. We're in the midst now of wading through scripts...and hoping for that 15% from which to choose and 2023 Season.
Sometimes I see a play at another theatre and immediately think “HG should produce this one.” And that's what happened with THE MAY QUEEN. I had heard of it when it was workshopped at Chautauqua a number of years ago, but didn't see it until it was produced at the Geva in Rochester. I knew immediately that I'd like to direct it with HG. I sent for the script and my reading of it confirmed that it was a show we ought to—needed to?--produce.
The weeks of rehearsal confirmed even more that this is a play we want to share with our community. The in-depth discussions, the questions, the character analysis, the crawling around in another's skin...all have deepened my appreciation for this work.
And the audience response. I wish I could record the responses of people as they leave the theatre. From their comments and expressions, I know that I'm not the only one moved by this work. This is noTV fluff that you forget about the moment you turn it off. This one stays with you. I'm hoping you will allow it to stay with you, by attending one of the remaining performances: May 27 and 28 at 7:30.
And then it's gone. The beauty and the reality of live theatre: this work will never ever be revisited. It is not a disc or a stream that can be watched and re-watched at whim: it will only happen in this spot at this time with these actors on stage with these audience members with this weather through the lens of all the personal stuff that's going in your life at this moment. Now we are here.