Birthing Theatre, Part 2

This is the Opening Night of our first World Premiere.  In other words, “the first of the first.”  We will never have this night again. Oh, do not misunderstand, we will do more World Premieres in the future, but never again will it be our FIRST World Premiere.  What a landmark.

In my post on August 12, Birthing Theatre, I talked about our part in the developmental process with our New Works Festival and how I truly believe that it is the responsibility of professional theatre companies to continue to help new works enter the canon of American plays.  I welcome you to read it because it will give you some insight into the journey a play takes from page to stage.

Kristen Coury and Suzanne Bradbeer at the pre-show reception for the opening night of THE GOD GAME

Kristen Coury and Suzanne Bradbeer at the pre-show reception for the opening night of THE GOD GAME

With this play, THE GOD GAME, written by the uber-talented, insightful and profound Suzanne Bradbeer, the journey is even more exciting.

While I mentioned that we were doing this play in association with Capital Repertory Theatre in a blog on October 21, and gave you some insight into the audition process, I didn’t outline the path we have walked with this play specifically.

An actress who was in our production of GOD OF CARNAGE told me at that time that she had a friend who was a very talented playwright who’d written a play that I should read.  I told her to send it along.  Cody Nickell, our Artistic Associate, and I both read it and loved it.  And we reached out to Suzanne’s agent to begin the process of obtaining the rights to produce the play. When we did, we found out that Maggie Cahill, the Producing Artistic Director of Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, New York, had included this play in their New Play Summit, and were also interested in producing it.

We could have gone head to head and toe to toe.  Instead, Maggie Cahill was kind enough to share it with us, and then she and Suzanne allowed me to direct it.  From there the fun began. Phone calls and discussions about changes.  Discussions about set design and casting.  More changes.

I had thought the play was in great shape when we’d decided to produce it.  I knew we were working on a new ending, but I truly didn’t expect as many changes and re-writes as we have done since we started rehearsals on December 28th. (That is my birthday, incidentally, and what a gift!)   We have written and re-written several scenes, lines and words, and, with the help of this brilliant cast, have hopefully found exactly the right mix, arc and journey for both the play and for all three characters.

Here’s the exciting part.  The journey isn’t over.  This political play will have the opportunity to be produced here for a largely Conservative audience and then we will remount the production with the same actors in Albany, a largely Liberal audience, in May.  Between now and then, it wouldn’t surprise me if more changes were made based on what Suzanne learns from watching the play here and from our Playwright Talk-backs after the performances.  And, more changes will likely happen once we are all in rehearsal in Albany.

How humbled, grateful and pleased I am to be able to be part of Birthing Theatre in this intimate manner.  I am just the midwife, but it is an honor indeed.

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