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Showing posts from February, 2011

Hearing in a Deaf World: An Actor’s Clybourne Park Lesson

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posted by Emily Kitchens, cast member of Clybourne Park 

Every performance of Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park has been met with laughter of all kinds, from boisterous to embarrassed. As production dramaturg Beatrice Basso recently described, the play’s humor can be uncomfortable and charged. Norris’s writing strips away the veneer of political correctness; we laugh at things that we know shouldn’t be funny, and then we question ourselves for doing so. This is perhaps nowhere as overt as with the character of Betsy in the play’s first act. Betsy is deaf, and the playwright makes jokes at her expense. And every night, by Norris’s design, the audience laughs along.

Betsy is played in our production by Emily Kitchens, who graduated from the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program last year. We asked Emily about the challenges of presenting this character; she tells us below about the serious inspiration for her comic role.
—The A.C.T. Intern Blog Quadrumvirate

It always feels so personal to talk a…

Revolutionary Comedy: Laughing at Archangels

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posted by Emily Hoffman, Publications Fellow

Last week, the Master of Fine Arts Program class of 2012 opened Dario Fo’s Archangels Don’t Play Pinball, directed by A.C.T. Head of Movement Stephen Buescher. The play, a zany satire of political bureaucracy, follows the tough-but-tender underdog Lanky from rags to riches and back to rags again. (Check out a plot description here.) Publications Fellow Emily Hoffman served as assistant director for the production, and tells us what it was like to build a physical comedy like Archangels. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can buy tickets for the remaining performances here.
—The A.C.T. Intern Blog Quadrumvirate

There’s a reason Dario Fo’s Archangels Don’t Play Pinball doesn’t get performed much. It’s long, sprawling, and unwieldy: the action travels from a bakery to a bar, to a streetwalker’s apartment, to a pension office, to a dog pound, to a first-class train car, to the presidential suite of a hotel, back to the bar, and ending back at the s…

Even the Sky Is Not the Limit: The A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program Sky Festival, Part 3

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posted by Dan Rubin, Publications and Literary Associate

What happens when you give talented people access to other talented people, space, and time? If you’re dealing with 38 theater folk and give them two and a half weeks, seven studios, and $25 per project, the result might look something like the Sky Festival, which recently culminated in two days filled with 13 fully (well, mostly) staged, one-hour productions. It was a magical whirlwind event (“Isn’t this like Edinburgh?” people were saying in the hallway, “Isn’t it sort of like Cannes?”), leaving us awestruck by the amazing people we have the fortune to interact with on a daily basis. We were there to support A.C.T.’s Master of Fine Arts Program students and faculty, but we were also there for ourselves to witness examples of what theater looks like when its makers are at their most raw and passionate. While the directors had to negotiate with next-to-no budget and competing demands for actors and space, they did not have to co…

Harold Pinter, Carey Perloff, and A.C.T.

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Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming begins rehearsal at A.C.T. this week with Artistic Director Carey Perloff at the helm. This is not the first Pinter-Perloff production, not by a long shot. Perloff’s relationship with the Nobel Prize–winning British playwright began in 1988, when she staged The Birthday Party for Classic Stage Company in New York. Pinter was so impressed by the production that he invited Perloff to direct the American premiere of Mountain Language at CSC soon after. She went on to direct a 1990 Mark Taper Forum production of The Collection, a 1998 A.C.T. production of Old Times, and a 2001 A.C.T. production of The Room and The Celebration (another American premiere), which had its first preview performance, a profoundly moving experience for all present, two nights after 9/11. A.C.T.’s relationship goes back even further—to 1984, when A.C.T. founder William Ball directed Old Times.

When Pinter died in 2008, Perloff wrote a moving essay about Pinter and his legacy for the