by Padraic Lillis · December 1, 2014
Centre College's cast is meeting once a week for Sunday dinner at director Patrick Kagan-Moore's house. I believe rehearsals begin officially in January, but they wanted to start the discussion before break. They have met twice and I am thrilled to hear that the cast is feeling the same enthusiasm as was generated out of Ashland. I am also excited by the different questions that are being asked about the play.
What is exciting for both schools so far is that these characters feel like their students. The real life issues that the play confronts - the actors confront in their daily lives. That enhances the enthusiasm about the investigation of the play. I was concerned that the questions would remain similar as the first go, and I was anxious to see how Lindsay would confront the repetition of that part of the process. However, with new artists come new questions. Or they may be asking the same types of questions but with a different point of view. It is really valuable exploration. It truly give Lindsay a three hundred and sixty degree view of the world she is creating.
It was great to talk with Matt Hallock, Chairman of the department at Centre and to hear about the exploration the company is doing on the play. Some of the questions they were asking were how is the world changed? Or is the world of the characters changed at the end. Does the cycle continue? If Freddie killed himself because he is gay, what is Brianna's sexuality? What are the politics around 'outing' someone in that community? The great thing is that everyone is invested in the text and the characters' journeys. They are asking those questions from their point of interest in the world.
We also had a wonderful discussion about the difference of when a writer has a character light a fuse and leaves the room before the explosion and when the character stays to add gasoline to the fire. Both are interesting choices - but it was observed that the playwright is ready to alter the world forever at that moment, and those are the moments to explore about what is being changed.
There is also a discussion about what is left for each of these characters in their hometown at the end of the play. Will they return? I'm a believer in what happens in the play afterwards is up to the audience because I can't control what happens next in that world. However, what I liked about the discussion with Matt today was the realization that the characters are growing up. That they are confronted with mortality, responsibility for their life choices, and that they now are becoming the adults that they view their parents. I appreciate even more that the play takes place in Pete's house, that his parents have left town, and it is now his house. Highlighting that they are now the parents. That the elements of the story are very specific to this generation but that the theme of growing up and maturation is constant for each generation and eventually we all have to face it.
I also take personal joy in the fact that they meet on Sundays because Centre College Football plays on Saturday. Congratulations to the team, and quarter back Heath Haden (plays Trevor), for going 10-0 this season. The only other time the school had that record was in 1921!
Excited for the journey.
Talk with you soon.