Live theater offers certain advantages, including "the ability to transform things before our eyes in the same room as the audience," he says. Many young playwrights today write scripts that could easily be done on TV, and "don't know how to explore the gifts of theater, but
While Hall-Flavin didn't want to give away too much of how the story is staged, but what happens revolves around a parrot, who is the title character.. A 400-year-old parrot. Who becomes a fashion designer.
The press-release description of this world premiere opening the 30th anniversary season at
Hall-Flavin got to know playwright Burke in 2006 at the Playwright's Center in
If you know WHAT, you won't be expecting a feathered costume to make "Gertrude Moody" work. Hall-Flavin notes that Shakespeare simply says there's a horse on stage "and you go there." Here, an actor says he "was born a flightless parrot 400 years ago" and the audience is asked to accept that and move on.
The play "has a once-upon-a-time quality," Hall-Flavin says. "That said, there are sock puppets and shadow plays ... and all kinds of devices to entertain the audience." Three actors (WHAT veteran
And amid all the theatricality, the script has something to say. Hall-Flavin says he has also championed "Gertrude Moody" because the comedy "effortlessly comments on societal ills without you knowing it." Because the play is funny, audiences might not recognize all it has to say until they get home and think about it.
Topics raised include gender norms, cultural boundaries, creation, human trafficking, physical beauty, patriarchal privilege, feminine identity, marriage, what it means to be human, and a person's place in the world, according to Hall-Flavin and information from WHAT.
"The device of having a parrot makes you look at (the topics) in a new way," the director says.
The play also met another criteria for wanting to stage it, which was crucial. "It's kick-ass funny," Hall-Flavin says. "And if you can't have a good time at the theater, then why go?"
Also coming up this season at WHAT:
For fans of that frantic British backstage comedy (just terrifically performed this winter in a joint
In this story, the problem is the playwright. A struggling community theater group is trying to put on a whodunit called "Murder Most Foul," but the writer -- who thinks she's much better than she actually is -- keeps revising the script and getting in the way.
Act 1 is a rehearsal of the show, Act 2 is the "near-disastrous" dress rehearsal, then the final act is the actual first performance -- when much continues to go wrong.
"I really felt, if you're going to do a comedy, you need to do something people can relate to," Baker says. "I think a lot of people don't know some of the things that can happen when you're doing a show," while for the actors involved, the crises can be all too familiar.
"Play On!" was written in 1980 by
The prolific Sharkey wrote science fiction stories and novels, humor articles, and mystery novels, plus, from 1965 to his death in 1992, 82 published plays written under his own name and four others -- Abbot, Monk Ferris,
Baker's cast includes some familiar BCC faces -- including
"Play On!" will be presented at
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