Friday, March 8, 2013

Teen Rep Directing Project Connects with Community

“Most of what I have learned about theater was by making mistakes!” confessed Dr. Sheila Garvey
at a recent session with members of the Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Rep Company.

Members of the Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Rep Company, under the guidance of Ken O’Brien, met last Thursday evening at with two professional directors to discuss the challenges of directing and producing plays. Dr. Garvey, Chair of Southern Connecticut State University’s Theater Department and Joseph D’Eugenio, Artistic Director of The Greater Middletown Chorale shared their insights gained through years of experience producing and directing both plays and concerts.

During the evening discussion, the Oddfellows’ young directors from the Teen Repertory Company talked about directing for the first time and about their plays – Eric Lane’s  “Dancing on Checker’s Grave” and Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story,” among others.

They listened as Dr. Garvey stressed the importance of wide-ranging research into a play’s background,
including the history of the setting – right down to maps. She also shared the play book developed for a
current production which she creates for all her plays. Artistic Director D’Eugenio described how the
intermingling of various art forms creates vibrant productions, a process he is now managing in the “Letterfrom Italy” project.

“A lot of art, a lot about creativity, is recognizing good ideas and re-appropriating them in a new context.  Our Teen Rep members, in directing one-act plays, are learning about the collaborative aspects of theater.  How to share ideas, how to borrow, how to adapt.  Learning different perspectives, different processes, is an important part of that development” said Executive Director Matt Pugliese.

This exchange about the details of dramatic productions was sponsored by The Greater Middletown
Chorale as the third event in its continuing series - “Connecticut Community Conversations: ‘Letter from
Italy, 1944’ – a Generational Legacy”. These events have been developed to prepare for the world
premiere concert of “Letter from Italy, 1944” a musical drama being presented by the Chorale on April 28.

The Teen Repertory Company presents Nightmares & Streetscapes, Student Directed one-act written by Edward Albee, Christopher Durang, Eric Lane and Peter Tolan from May 3-11.  All performances are at 7:30pm.  

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