Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Love Fool Dreams

Tommy Harrington as Martin (L), Jenny Newbry Waters as May (C), Arthur Delaney as Eddie (R). Photo Credit: Ari Grey, Graphic Design: Linden Kueck, Tickets available here.

Fool for Love opened last weekend. We play two more weekends with eight more performances. I wish it were two more months with eight shows a week: the play is teaching me that much and I love watching it alongside an audience. To stay with the numbers for a minute, or rather a paragraph, Fool for Love is my eighteenth directorial outing, twentieth if you count the two plays I directed in high school, and fourth since graduating with my Masters of Fine Arts. Fool for Love is, also, the first show of mine to hit its fundraising goal with forty-three individual donating amounts ranging from five to five hundred dollars. Twice is the number of times I came home and sobbed my heart out from tech week stress.

How does it all add up? I could have told you without counting the productions on my resume that directing is the passion and vocation that I hope blossoms into a career. I could have told you that there are people out there passionate about the same kind of theatrical work that I find so exciting, people who would want to see this production of Fool for Love succeed, even if they could not actually make it across the country for the show. And my husband could tell you that I always cry at some point (or multiple points) during a process because I take the work to heart, because I set a very high bar for myself in terms of not just the product but the process, and it rattles me when I fall short. There is a gulf between knowledge and experience though and to quote one of my favorite character's "joy's soul lies in the doing." I may have known those things, dreamed about them, doing is another (and richer) story.

So what next? I have a few ideas. For now though, I want to savor the two more weekends and eight more performances of Fool for Love. In case you can’t make it to the show or are thinking about making it and need a little persuading, here is a little list of things, in no particular order, that excite me about the show:

1) Sam Shepard’s dramatic structure is incredible. Fool for Love is not a plot driven play, rather, there is an accumulation of emotion through a repetition of actions. Eddie and May go in a big circle. Their present is their past and possibly their future. Shepard calls for Fool for Love to be “played relentlessly and without a break.” Our production comes in at about 65 minutes and takes me on a new emotional journey every time.

2) Fool for Love is incredibly tactile. Our scenic designer installed two rope walls that both mimic the horizon line of the desert and allow Eddie and May to literally tangle themselves up as they try to disappear in, or stand out against their environment, or gain the upper hand on one another. May and Eddie may be out of touch with many things but they are in touch with their bodies, there is a constant physical dialogue between them and every surface they encounter.

3) Eddie and Martin. May’s ex-lover and her current boyfriend size each other up in a hilarious and strange battle of wits that is rife with sexual innuendo. As a woman, I sort of feel like the play has let me into the guy’s locker room. The bond between Eddie and Martin is both sudden and profound. Eddie needs this man as his confessor and it’s beautiful to behold.

Martin (Tommy Harrington) and Eddie (Arthur Delaney) going over what exactly the reason is for taking a girl to the movies. Photo Credit: Matt Schneider
4) Fool for Love is filled with shadows. The Old Man haunts Eddie and May; he is both himself and a figment of their imagination. Eddie and May live in the shadow of their parents’ love and its disasterous end. Our lighting designer installed a single overhead practical as the main light source for May’s motel room. The centrality of that single bulb can make the space feel confined in the manner of an interrogation room, or later like the epicenter of an expansive wild fire. The blending of the intimate and the mythic is one of my favorite things about storytelling, about drama, about Fool for Love.

Sometimes a production feels like more than just another production, sometimes it feels like a sign post, an anchor for what you want your work to be about, for how you want to work. Fool for Love is one of those productions for me. Working with this cast – Jenny Newbry Waters, Arthur Delaney, Brian MacEwan, and Tommy Harrington – has been a complete delight. The designers – Megan Wilkerson and Molly Browne – have rendered the emotional core of the play in visual terms that I never imagined. So yes, before thinking about what comes next, I am going to enjoy the hell out of what is currently before me. We play two more weekends, if you find yourself in Portland, Oregon between now and April 21st, you should join me at The Backdoor Theater! Tickets Available Here.

Eddie and May coming together over the objections of The Old Man. Photo Credit: Matt Schneider

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