Saturday, November 21, 2015

Anton in Show Business: The Director

Director Rae Robison talks about the play, the HSU production and what audiences can expect to see.

"I've loved this script by Jane Martin (who may or may not be Jon Jory) since I designed the show back in 2004 or so. At the time, I was just beginning to think about the implications of females in this industry, their power position or lack thereof and my place as an actor, designer and director involved in theatre. The past few years have seen a resurgence in the issue of the disparity between what female actors earn versus their male counterparts, why there are so few female directors and why there are so few female playwrights produced today.”

 Robison referenced recent comments by Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson (among other women quoted in a Guardian article) on sexism in motion pictures. “It is devastating that a play commenting on these issues that was written in 2001 is so relevant today. That's why we're doing it."

"Early in the play Kate, one of the characters, explains why the actors are playing both genders in this production. Holly, our television diva, gives the "dirt" on the beauty price of women in Hollywood. Late in the play, the idea of theatre as a self-reverential experience is discussed. I think there's a lot of thought provoking, hopefully discussion- inducing topics that Jane Martin illustrates in Anton in Show Business. "What is the role of theatre today?" This show may start the discussion."

  “I feel fortunate to have this show in our season and to work with seven wonderful undergraduate actresses, a talented production team and terrific designers including scenic designer Calder Johnson and costume designer Lynnie Horrigan, who were both former students of mine and now working professionals.

I've had a few years to think about how I wanted to stage this and had some definite visual ideas rattling around, but the team helped develop my earliest thoughts into an unusual visual aesthetic that should give audience members a unique view into the machinery of our theatre world. I've definitely not seen anything staged this way and am excited to see how it plays.

 We have a core group of seven female actors who play over a dozen characters, both male and female. We also have a "glam squad" of five additional females who handle the wardrobe, scenic, makeup and all the changes that happen during the show - most of them in full view of the audience. If you've ever been to a live show and wondered "how did they do that?" you may have your questions answered as we show you some of our methods. This show is a bit like a magician letting you see what's in his or her pockets - we're letting you see what we do behind the curtain.

 Even with all these weighty topics, it's still at the heart a funny, funny show. Audiences will definitely see something that they've never seen before in Humboldt or maybe even anywhere else."

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