What to Say When the Show is Serious and Sad and the Story Must Be Told by Barbara Biddison
How does a person go about encouraging someone to see a show that is more likely to make us cry than smile. How do I tell people about the full run, in rehearsal, that I saw last night? How do I describe a stageful of actors who face the audience, speak to the audience,
and are still obviously together as a crowd, who as individuals have witnessed the same event? How do I say, "You must see Elephant's Graveyard" because..
Because I don't think HG has produced a drama this serious and this meaningful since LARAMIE PROJECT. Because it gives actors (mostly men) an opportunity to take on real and different male characters. Because the play itself, the drama based on a real-life happening, is worth exploring. Because our actors and our audiences deserve challenging theatre. Because just last year HG produced INTO THE BREECHES which gave actresses the opportunity to explore female characters. And this one and that one are by the same playwright, George Brant.
Because, as much as we all like to smile and laugh and "feel good," we also all have challenges in our lives, and sadness. And we just need to sometimes "get away from it all." And sometimes the hard facts and the grief-laden story can actually take us away from ourselves for a while.
There's another thing that this play does. It lets us see something that really happened. It lets us see our own HG actors immerse themselves in this story, this play, this real-life experience. They are quite good, these actors, but they don't always have a character like the one they play here and bring to life here. At which point I must say that the actresses, though few in this particular play, are also believeable in their roles which are not at all like their personal selves.
[Note: There will be "talkbacks" after the show for all five performances. Actors and tech folks and musicians, and director Thomas Putnam. They'll all be there to talk and to answer questions and to explore ideas. Audience members will be given a few moments to come back to reality, to get a refreshment, and then to return to the theatre. It's an opportunity to ask questions, make comments, listen to others, and process what we've just experienced. Personally, I love talkbacks. Those who participate usually do, too. All are invited to "talk back."]