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Showing posts from January, 2010

On Translating Brecht

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posted by Domenique Lozano
A.C.T. Associate Artist Domenique Lozano is creating a brand-new translation of Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle with special permission from the Brecht estate. She writes about the process of facing this daunting task.

The experience of translating this beautiful play has been wonderful overall, but I sure am glad I didn’t know what I was getting into. By that I mean, I began the process by just taking one step at a time. I would do this one thing, and then the next, and I didn’t really think about the pressure of getting the script done. I didn’t dwell on the deadline, or the expectation of creating something that would have enough meat on it to feed the cast, stimulate the director, and keep the audience engaged. I would just think, “Well today, I’ve got to sort out the Simon/Grusche scenes.” No one at A.C.T. ever pressured me; there was only support from Carey, Michael, and from John Doyle. As if I’d done this before, as if they had absolute …

Re-envisioning a Set Design

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posted by Christina Poddubiuk, Scenic and Costume Designer for Phèdre
Christina Poddubiuk designed the set and costumes for Phèdre at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and has reconceived the set design for the show at A.C.T. She writes about this rare opportunity to recreate the world of the play.

When as a set and costume designer you have the good fortune to work mostly in classical theater, sooner or later you’re going to get to tackle the same piece more than once. I’ve done two Hamlets, three All’s Well That Ends Wells, and four Much Ados. What almost never happens is to work on the same play in two consecutive productions, and to have the opportunity to reconceive the set design.

Phèdre was designed for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, where it was performed in an old badminton court that is one of their four theaters, on a 60-foot thrust stage. The scenery was necessarily minimal, due to the surround of the audience. We focused on a long painted ramp, and a sculptural piec…

For Young Writers

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posted by Philip Kan Gotanda
January is new-play development month at A.C.T. Although we continue to work with playwrights on new works throughout the year, First Look heats up this month with a series of readings and workshops. The readings are not open to the public, but you can find more information about this program here

One of this January’s featured writers, Philip Kan Gotanda (author of the A.C.T.–commissioned hit play After the War) shares his thoughts about making a career in playwriting.

Young writers: I would encourage working to cultivate relationships with theaters you respect. More specifically artistic directors. This is as important as the work itself. A playwright is someone who writes plays that are produced, not sit in someone’s hard drive. I think it wise to have working relationships with more than one theater. Ideally a larger, nationally respected institution, then a smaller black box experimental house, and finally, in my case, an Asian American–centric theat…

I Dream of Chang and Eng

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posted by Philip Kan Gotanda
January is new-play development month at A.C.T. Although we continue to work with playwrights on new works throughout the year, First Look heats up this month with a series of readings and workshops. The readings are not open to the public, but you can find more information about this program here.

One of this January’s featured writers, Philip Kan Gotanda (author of the A.C.T.–commissioned hit play After the War) shares his thoughts about playwriting and his new work I Dream of Chang and Eng.

I have this thing where I sit on plays for years before I write them. I can literally feel them inside of me. It’s a kind of amorphous nonspecific locus of knowledge that bumps around inside of me sucking up whatever it deems necessary to building a particular literary house. And it pulls in stuff from every conceivable exchange or encounter, waking or sleeping. My play Ballad of Yachiyo waited around for a good seven years before a night in the hospital keeping compa…

Traveling for Phèdre

posted by Seana McKenna, cast member of Phèdre

Seana McKenna—a company member of Canada’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival, where she played the title role in Carey Perloff’s production of Phèdre—recently arrived in San Francisco, where she will reprise her performance in the A.C.T. production of Racine’s 17th-century classic. McKenna writes about her struggles in trying to get to San Francisco from Toronto for the first day of rehearsal.

This is my first blog. For a relative Luddite, this is a major step into the 21st century. A decade late, I know. But I have an 11-year-old son, so the last ten years are a bit of a blur.

As are the last few days. I have just finished my first week of rehearsal for Racine’s Phèdre at A.C.T. I left, or rather, tried to leave Toronto on December 26th. Yes, December 26th. My fellow cast member Tom McCamus and I were in the center of the maelstrom at Pearson International, when increased security measures resulted in delays of more than six hours, more tha…