kestrel

kestrel
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2021-10-10 14:30:06 (UTC)

Prompt 133: Broadway Blast

133. If you could produce any show on Broadway, what would it be and why? Would this play be worthy of the Broadway stage? Why or why not?
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So I have a history with theatre. My college degree is in theatre, and I've acted, directed, and written for the stage. Been in a few small-screen films. I flirted with the idea of going to grad school for theatre, but didn't realistically, seriously pursue it. I didn't see the upside to moving either to NYC or LA, or even Chicago. As far as being on stage was concerned, "I didn't want the big time enough."

That's also the kind of performance I prefer: smaller stages, intimate audience experiences, pushing the boundaries at least in content, if not in form. There's a time and a place for big shows, sure. To address this prompt appropriately, I'll step out of my usual preferences here. Were I to stage a big-time Broadway show, it would need to be some sort of epic drama. Something like -Les Miserables- or -Phantom of the Opera- or -Into the Woods- but without the music and songs.

There are only a few plays I've seen personally that meet that criteria. I most-recently saw a recording of a live performance of "Frankenstein" which featured Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role. However, the play really was about the Monster, and the actor who played that role did a fantastic job and had me glued to the story as it unfolded. I had an opportunity to see some authentic Shakespearean plays performed in the rebuilt Globe Theatre in London, and those were a kind of treat ("Romeo & Juliet" performed by a stellar all-female cast, and "Twelfth Night"). However, I didn't see the plays I'd wanted to. As far as Shakespeare's works, I'd like to see -Titus Andronicus- on stage again. The last time I'd seen that was a rollicking, splattergore-inspired version in high school. To see -The Tempest- would be great, and then maybe stage versions of the adaptations of -King Lear-, like they did in the film -Ran-. To see epic battles depicted on stage in a cinematic, "theatre magic" way is always admirable.

As far as more contemporary works, I think a viewing of Kushner's -Angels in America- would be nice, although personally it's been overdone and HBO did a filmed version of it some time ago that was fantastic. When in college, I saw -The Illusionist- on stage and that was well-done, but too small scale for this purpose. Another play I had seen while in college was -Marisol-, which was about the Apocalypse in NYC, and I'd like to do that one. Use the stage to tell the story, pull off the spectacle without adding a jingle or catchy tune to it.

When it comes to great stage plays, in my mind you can't beat a "black box" studio theater. There's seating for somewhere round 100 people, not much more than that, and the stage is usually surrounded by the audience seats. It's a thrust proscenium, or maybe theatre in the round. When your audience is close enough to see you blink, breathe, and sweat... That's the good stuff.

Small-stage, studio works I'd like to see, in no particular order:
_Glengarry Glen Ross_ or _American Buffalo_ by David Mamet
_Woyzeck_ by Georg Buchner. I have a lot of visions about this one's possibilities.
_Antigone_ by Sophocles
_The Bacchae_ by Euripides, or even a revival/adaptation of _Dionysus in '69_ by The Performance Group (which I think would be particularly fitting to contemporary times)
_Hurlyburly_ by David Rabe
Anything by Caryl Churchill, even her weird, "unmarketable" stuff.
Anything by Sam Shepard, but in particular _Buried Child_ or even a collection of his one-acts. If there ever could be a studio stage version of _Paris, Texas_ I think that would be sublime.


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