In Stupid F*cking Bird, Aaron Posner’s riff on Chekhov’s The Seagull, subtext becomes text and Konstantin Treplev’s talk of the need for a new theatre informs the design in a way that Chekhov never conceived.
The Alley Theatre is a work in progress. The theatre Nina Vance founded in 1947 opened a new building in 1968 with an 824-seat, three-quarter flexible thrust, the Hubbard Stage. Theatre consultant Bill Conner of Bill Conner Associates LLC says the Alley began seriously thinking about renovating the Hubbard in the 1980s.
Jean-Luc Godard’s film noir and the street photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson don’t spring to mind when thinking about a 17th-century Molière farce, but when Mark Wing-Davey set his production of A School For Wives in the 1950s and early 1960s, he looked to these mid-century artists for the play about a pompous, older man who attempts to groom his innocent ward into a perfect wife for himself.
Director Kacie Smith was wary. Sure, she could stage a play without words, in the tradition of the black-and-white films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. But seriously, was it even possible to stage a play with live actors in black and white?
In our last issue, three designers shared their thoughts about how directors affect their process. Now, four directors—Joe Dowling, Molly Smith, Henry Wishcamper, and Evan Yionoulis—talk about the impact of collaborating with designers.