Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill is the Producing Artistic Director at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, New York
The saga of co-producing THE GOD GAME with Capital Rep and Gulfshore Playhouse is the story of a friendship. It started with skepticism, then moved to respect, then true admiration and finally, real collaboration in what I hope will become a lasting friendship between two artistic leaders and organizations.
I first received a call from playwright Suzanne Bradbeer’s agent, Amy Wagner, to ask if Capital Rep might be interested in producing a “rolling world premiere” of THE GOD GAME, I thought, “No.” We had selected THE GOD GAME from more than 125 scripts submitted to our NEXT ACT new play summit, where it had wowed our patrons with a public reading. If you knew me, you would know that I actually play quite well with others, but I just loved the play so much, I felt like I wanted to hold it close. But because I would never tolerate such a pouty attitude from my own child, I gave myself a timeout, took a breath and took a call from Kristen.
Of course, I had Googled her and the Playhouse and had spoken with a couple of actors who had worked in Naples who told me she and the organization were wonderful.
Well, I liked her right away. She is tenacious, disciplined, has great taste in plays and people. She told me that she had connections to Albany, that she loved the play and that she understood why I didn’t want to share – and of course, that made me WANT to share!
The rest is, as they say, history.
It’s hard to come to a new place and see your “baby” on stage, and it was such a relief to see the quality of the set and properties, the care in the costumes and the fine performances that director, Kristen, has wrought! Discussions about the play with Kristen and Suzanne following the performances have been some of the most productive I have ever had with a director and playwright.
Do we agree on everything? No. But we have a strong foundation of agreement and that makes tolerance of differing nuances of the play possible. It’s those differences that make art.
The play will be seen differently in Albany literally and figuratively. Our theatre is a “thrust’ stage, where the audience sits on three sides of the performing area. And, because Albany is the capital of New York, our patrons live, eat and drink politics – from both sides of the aisle. In that way, they will be like the very savvy audiences I experienced at Gulfshore.
I believe THE GOD GAME is going to have a long life in the theatre and I am so happy that the patrons from both theatres will have played such an important role in our creative journey.