The reviews are in for the world premiere of One Blue Tarp and folks are raving! Get a behind the curtain (tarp?) interview with Playwright Travis Baker and Director Dan Burson below! PTC’s Dramatic Academy will also feature these two artists this Saturday in its new Master Class Series. This weekends topic is “New Play Development” and there is still room to sign up! Click here http://www.penobscottheatre.org/index.php?id=2&sub_id=1599 to register today!
PTC: What are the biggest challenges/most exciting things about writing/directing a world premiere?
Travis: The biggest challenge is trying to figure out what works (scriptwise) and what isn’t. To pay enough attention to individual lines while also maintaining the structure of the whole show. It’s like building a ship without a blueprint. The most exciting parts are when it begins to come alive and the actors and designers add their flourishes and the ship gets properly outfitted. Of course, the most exciting part is Opening Night, when the house is full, that first laugh occurs and I know that 290 odd people are having a great time with something I started years ago hunched over my computer and had the gumption to keep working on.
Dan: I think one of the most exciting things is that as a director you have the
opportunity to collaborate directly with the writer in the room. There’s
so much possibility in having a living, working writer as a partner as
opposed to working on a play without the playwright being around. For ONE
BLUE TARP, I got to hear directly from Travis how he understood the world
of the play, and I could bounce ideas off of him for what we wanted to do
with that. You generally don’t get that chance unless its a world
In terms of challenges, the flip side of the excitement of having the
playwright there is the challenge of maintaining your trust in the script
when the possibility of changing it exists. Just because something isn’t
working doesn’t mean that the issue is with the script – but when the
writer is at rehearsals, its tempting to say “This isn’t working, can we
change it?” Staying the course, I think, is often more important than
pushing for re-writes, so while not-rewriting and coming up with solutions
through rehearsal can be a challenge, I think it’s almost always worth it.
PTC: What was your first experience with theater?
Travis: My sister was cast as Gretel in The Sound of Music at the College of the Maineland in Texas City, Tx when I was nine and she was eight. I got dragged along to many a rehearsal was let loose on the theatre, exploring the catacombs, tunnels, backstage areas and cat-walks. I saw a guy make thunder with a giant sheet of metal and thought it was the coolest thing ever.
PTC: Why do you think theater is important as an artform?
Because it’s a way of telling stories that is incredibly personal. Having
a live audience in a room lets us tell stories in a way that’s so much
more immediate than any other art form because it’s actually “happening”
right in front of the viewer. I find it takes a great deal for me to be
shocked or moved by something when I’m experiencing it through a screen,
or through the filter of reading words on a page. In a theater, watching
live, you get at those emotions so much more readily – and connect with
the stories that much more.
PTC: What surprised you about working on One Blue Tarp?
Dan: I was surprised at first by how familiar the play felt to me the first
time a read it – ONE BLUE TARP was one of those scripts that I saw in my
mind and recognized almost immediately when I read it, which doesn’t
happen a lot.
Later, once we started rehearsals, I was really surprised by how much buzz
there was about this play even before it opened. Every store and
restaurant in Bangor seemed to have a poster up, and lots of people I met
already knew the play was coming up and talked about how excited they were
to see it. That was surprising to me, but in a really awesome way!
PTC: What’s next on the horizon for you?
Travis: Hopefully more productions of the Tarp. Meantime I’ve begun the next Clara play, Hair Frenzy about Tina the hairdresser and the offer she gets to leave the state from a movie star back in town to film one of those H.S. Prichard books.
Dan and Travis will hold a Master Class in New Play Development Saturday February 8th from 10 a.m. – 12:30. Please visit penobscottheatre.org to register today!
Purchase tickets for One Blue Tarp by visiting our website or calling 942-3333. And don’t forget to register to participate in our Best Baked Bean/Pie Contests on Feb. 15!
Prizes include Season Tickets to PTC, gift certificates to local downtown restaurants, tickets to the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and much more!!!
Please contact Brad LaBree to register: firstname.lastname@example.org