Monday, February 12, 2007

Topdog/Underdog @ Davidson

Back in December when I was in a serious rut with regards to stageNEXT, I asked Elise Wilkinson from Collaborative Arts: "How do you do it?" Elise is someone that has found a balance between "workwork" and "theatrework," and I was really struggling to understand how to make the two complimentary instead of combative.

Elise's answer (paraphrased): "Do theatre." She observed that, while I've been trying to build a theatre, it had been ages since I had actually been involved in the creative act of putting work onstage. While this may seem fairly apparent to you, it was a big "aha" moment for me. After all, the ability to do theatre has been my primary motivator for trying to start a new professional theatre here in Charlotte. How better to regain focus than to get out there and get my hands dirty?

So, I accepted the opportunity to design lighting for Davidson College's production of Topdog/Underdog. You may have seen some of the press coverage in the Observer on the two brothers that took on S-LP's script (under the directon of Scott Ripley). It turned out to be a remarkable production, all the more amazing given the 3-week production schedule that we faced. It took a bit to shake the rust off, but I was really pleased by what I was able to contribute to the production; overall feedback has been overwhelmingly positive as well.

It also helped to get my creative energy going again for stageNEXT, and reconnected me to the fundmental reason I started pursuing a new professional theatre in Charlotte in the first place. There is something about great theatre that engages me and activates my perception unlike anything else I've experienced. So thanks, Elise, for the great advice!

(left) Production Photo from Topdog/Underdog: Scene 2, Booth and Lincoln in Booth's apartment.

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