Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the "Sidebar 1" sidebar. Defaulting to "sidebar-1". Manually set the id to "sidebar-1" to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.) in /home/lajollaplayhouse/public_html/blog/wp-includes/functions.php on line 3606
Wearing Two Hats - La Jolla Playhouse Blog

Wearing Two Hats

  • bookmark page
Playwright/actress Claudia Shear (“Giulia”), actor Daniel Serafini-Sauli (“Max”) and dramaturg Gabriel Greene in rehearsal for RESTORATION, by Claudia Shear, directed by Christopher Ashley, playing June 23 -- July 19 in the Mandell Weiss Forum; photo by J. Katarzyna Woronowicz.

Playwright/actress Claudia Shear (“Giulia”), actor Daniel Serafini-Sauli (“Max”) and dramaturg Gabriel Greene in rehearsal for RESTORATION, by Claudia Shear, directed by Christopher Ashley, playing June 23 -- July 19 in the Mandell Weiss Forum; photo by J. Katarzyna Woronowicz.

Anytime you produce a world premiere, it’s complicated. In addition to the typical work of getting a play ready for audiences (figuring out the actors’ blocking; line memorization; implementing the lighting, costume, scenic and sound designs to create a cohesive whole), there’s the extra wrinkle of the play being a work-in-progress; of having a playwright see what’s working and what isn’t during the day, and writing new pages at night.

In Restoration, just for an added degree of difficulty, our playwright, Claudia Shear, is also performing the central role of Giulia.  Wearing two hats in a single production is hardly uncommon (just last year, Charlayne Woodard wrote and starred in her solo show, The Night Watcher, and later this season, Doug Wright will direct his own adaptation of Creditors), but nevertheless, amazing amounts of stamina are required.

To help Claudia compartmentalize her different roles, our director, Christopher Ashley, has dedicated a “playwright’s chair” next to his own behind his rehearsal table.  It sits empty most of the time, except for when he summons Claudia the Actor to morph into Claudia the Playwright to discuss a textual question.  Still, when inspiration strikes, it isn’t always on a schedule, so Claudia will occasionally break character during a scene in order to ask me to remind her to change a word or a line.  (Just today, she called over to me, “Page 94 – ‘restoration’ or ‘birthday’?”  “What does that mean,” I asked. “Just remind me later,” she replied. “I’ll know.”)  It helps immensely, of course, when you have incredibly game actors and a crack stage management team to track all the changes.

In another week and a half, we move to the theatre for technical rehearsals, and the script changes, by and large, will be restricted to minor tweaks here and there.  And then, soon after, we’ll share it all with you.

2 Comments:

  1. Having seen this incredible statue in real life, this play is intriquing to me. Is it based on a book that I could read prior to seeing the play?

    Cindy

    2009.06.21
    8:52 pm

  2. Hi Cindy,
    Thanks for the comment — so glad to hear you’re intrigued by the play. RESTORATION is not based on a book, but rather the actual event of the 2003-04 restoration (albeit heavily fictionalized — as Claudia Shear’s note in the program says, “Everything about the David is true; everything else is fiction”).
    However, if you’re interested in finding out more about Michelangelo and the creation of the David, the following books might be of interest (they were to me during the research process):
    IL GIGANTE by Anton Gill
    MICHELANGELO’S MOUNTAIN by Eric Scigliano
    To get some insight into all the preparation that went into the 2003-04 restoration, you might also check out the following web page, which describes the Stanford Michelangelo Project: http://www-graphics.stanford.edu/projects/mich/
    Hope that helps — see you at the theatre!
    Gabe

    Gabe Greene

    2009.06.23
    12:59 pm