Sunday, April 13, 2014

Playhouse Creatures: The Director

I know better than to anticipate any audience member’s reaction, but the impressions I leave rehearsal with regularly are -- history is fun, sexy (and sexist), tragic and very three-dimensional," stated Mark Swetz, director of the HSU production of Playhouse Creatures. "The great script by April DeAngelis opens many doors for the audience and knocks down many perceptions of ‘dusty history’ and particularly, women’s roles in shaping history. The script explores aspects of each of their individual stories and in the process gives some great insight into workplace politics, performance history, relationships and ambition."

"I have tended to specialize in devised or original work. It was attractive to work on a ‘period’ play (that shows off the best of historical and contemporary acting), from an exciting and very rich part of history.  It is also, ultimately, very much a company play and this appealed to my sense of collaboration.  Ironically, although the play is about women who were and aspired to be ‘stars’, there is no central role or figure in this play – everyone gets equal attention and enough of a story to be interesting to a broad range of possible audiences."

Swetz suggests audiences should expect "gorgeous period costumes from designer Kaden O’Keefe, great hair from designer Kim Haines and wonderful make-up from Brigit Yeager. The impressive wooden set from Derek Lane is evocative of an actual playhouse from the period and the world backstage and onstage in 17th century England. Fantastic performances from the company – real people and living history. The rude, dirty and funny parts of history – not the dry stuff of textbooks."

"I am most consistently impressed with the talent, dedication, imagination and skill of the actors, designers and production personnel who have collaborated on this project."

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