“Classic Plays in New Ways”
Has a nice ring to it.
Understandably, it also strikes fear into the hearts of theater professionals.
but maybe not theatre professionals?
It invokes images of gold lamé pantsuits and blue glam eyeshadow forced upon some poor, pathetic, unsuspecting Elizabethan drama. Or of a campy, all-drag version of ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’*. Or… the worst: something ‘post-apocalyptic.’
This is what I’ve heard referred to as ‘Shakespeare on the Moon.’ Why would Shakespeare be on the Moon? He wasn’t. He lived in England for fucksake.
Yes, but he also wrote about ghosts and witches.
Yes, I know, ok, but the point I’m poorly making here is that The Kingfisher Theater aims to do ‘Classic Plays in New Ways’ but will strive wholeheartedly to avoid Shakespeare on the Moon.
I actually did a Shakespeare that was sorta post-apocalyptic once, and it wasn’t bad. The main reason, I think, was that the production was still grounded in some kind or reality. It wasn’t forced.
I was also once in a kind of clown-version of MacBeth (yes, I said it), where we used an ‘exploded text.’ That too, was good.
Obviously, great theatrical pieces are often found ‘outside of the box’. The problem is when that box is wet and soaked because your cats peed in it.
So what do we mean when we mean ‘New Ways’? Well…
#1. We’ll maintain a kind of healthy irreverance for the texts we work with
#2. We’ll feel free to deviate and be bold and attack from many angles, and…
#3. No frilly shirts.
In other words: no period costumes. Period.
“But why not?” you ask…
It is the view of this artistic director that period pieces are great as a educational tool. Yes, I know, many people also find them entertaining, and perhaps I could be persuaded in certain circumstances, but from where I’m standing, as artistic director, I’d prefer to leave that kind of work to the colleges and universities, thank you very much.
We’re here to entertain, not to educate. Great art is always educational, and great art is always political, but very rarely are lectures great art. Some people even think Brecht is entertaining.
Too many people already assume the theater will be boring. Everyone in the theater must be working to end that.
“Ah! But Dedes!” you say, “Aren’t you contradicting yourself?”
Yeah, probably. Deal with it. Life is complicated.
We’ll walk that line between originality and truth, we’ll avoid artificial kitsch (unless absolutely necessary), and we’ll eschew moldy past-worship.
And there you have it: No Shakespeare on the Moon and No Frilly Shirts.
And it’ll be fucking fantastic.
*Ok, ok. I guess there was an all-drag version of Fried Green Tomatoes that was done here in Roch a few years back and people liked it… so… we can maybe talk about it…