A five play theatrical season is a journey with ever changing scenery and new traveling companions. The trip is occasionally treacherous, often amusing, challenging, tension-filled, and ultimately, one hopes, gratifying. Our 47th excursion began during the Revolutionary War in the Berkshires, traveled to England and back again, then to the American south of the Civil War; before leaping to the early 21st century with a comedy featuring 20th century music by Cole Porter.
Then on to Chicago to a math professor’s house and finally our Long Day’s Journey Into Night ended in a summer house in New London, Connecticut for a family battling through addictions, drugs and disappointments.
So many of the moments one remembers most vividly were not on stage in front of an audience but in the rehearsal room as we struggled to find the best way to express the feelings, the thoughts of extraordinarily complex characters created by the Eugene O’Neill, David Auburn, Matthew Lopez, A. R. Gurney or Larry Rosler and Joe Bravaco. The rehearsal room is a sacred place for actors and directors. It is where mistakes and discoveries can be made.
Bertolt Brecht said, “The reason most people can’t build anything larger than a doghouse is that they try to build it alone.” No one can produce a theatre season alone. It is the work of many minds, hearts and hands. Playwrights, actors, directors, set, costume, lighting, sound and properties designers, musicians, and stage managers, all contributed their talents. As did the folks who helped to market the plays, hang lights, build sets, distribute posters, create graphic designs, answer phones, sell tickets etc. etc. Our stalwart Board of Trustees make it all possible by helping raise the 55% of needed revenue that does not come from ticket sales.
The relationship between the artists who put the play on stage, and the people who experience it in the audience is a crucial one. One cannot exist without the other. A play may be written, designed and rehearsed, but until an audience sees it, hears it, laughs or cries, loves or hates it, that play is simply an idea. Not until the audience is there does the play truly exist. Their response is critical, whether it is laudatory or critical. That is plots and characters are created, lines are learned, sets are built, costumes fitted, and props assembled all with an audience in mind.
We begin each season with several ambitions. We want to entertain audiences. We want to affect them emotionally and intellectually. We hope the plays we produce are discussed, argued about and remembered. This year’s season traveled from the 18th century to the 19th, the 20th and included a Pulitzer Prize winner from the 21st century. It was a long theatrical journey ending in a LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT. We have had 47 such journeys now. We are looking forward eagerly to our 48th. We hope you are too.