Looking back… and forward!

Whew! Season 5 was a beast of a season: our first year of three main-stage productions – and possibly some of the most challenging work we’ve tackled yet; the inauguration of our new Whistler Wednesday series with a total of 10 new plays by local playwrights; the introduction of our SecondActs Sundays projects, highlighting the work of other artists in the community; and the launch of the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston, an organization dedicated to fostering the growth of young and emerging artists in the Boston theatre community! No wonder we’re all delighted to be taking a bit of a breather this summer.

And as we pause for breath, it seemed like a good time to look back over the past few seasons and take a moment to ponder where we are now with regards to where we started.

Over the past five years, we’ve produced 11 main-stage shows – and looking back over our production history makes me incredibly proud. Our playwrights are a collection of some of the most exciting writers out there, and they span the globe from Kentucky to Belgrade. Out of those eleven productions, fully eight of them are Boston premieres, if not New England premieres.

PRODUCTION HISTORY:
The Possibilities
*, by Howard Barker
In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe*, by Eric Overmyer
FeverFest
All This Flying, All This Tumbling Down*, by Dario Fo and Franca Rame
The Flu Season*, by Will Eno
FeverFest 08: Kiss Carefully
Vampire*, by Snoo Wilson
A Hard Heart*, by Howard Barker
FeverFest 09: Elemental
Mary’s Wedding*, by Stephen Massicotte
The Bacchae, by Euripides (trans. Francis Blessington)
In On It*, by Daniel MacIvor
One Flea Spare, by Naomi Wallace
Family Stories, by Biljana Srbljanovic

*Boston premiere

Slowly but surely, we are finding an audience for these texts. When we first started out, we played to houses of our friends and families, (and the occasional die-hard Barker fan who had found us). Today we have a thriving audience base who are exploring these texts with us – and who frequently stay after performances to continue the journey of exploration with us in heated post-show conversations.

Just as gratifying, we have a healthy family of actors and designers who return again and again to work with us. Our mission has always been to develop, through producing challenging and exciting work, a community of artists and audience members who are actively seeking to grow through this work. Given the number of repeat offenders we have on our stages, I have great reason to be proud of what we are creating in terms of our artistic family. (And I’m so excited that we will welcome so many of them back for season 6 – more about that in a future post!)

The biggest change for us in the past season has been the transition from being the producing entity behind FeverFest to being a member company of the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston – into whose hands we have passed the reins for the festival. The Alliance grew directly out of collaborations and conversations that took place during FeverFest 08: Elemental – artists that were used to coming together every summer for our informal fringe festival decided to keep that collaboration going. For the coming season, the Alliance has a variety of projects in the works, including a shared props storage facility for all member companies, on-going series of workshops for members and the community at large, and a whole host of other plans. We’ll keep you posted about Alliance events – and about opportunities to see our fellow small theatres at work.

So, moving forward. Season 6.

Every year the shows we select for our season are linked not so much by a common theme, but rather by the conversation that the pieces have with each other – and this year is no different. The plays all focus on the moment right before a transformation or crucial decision is made – the moment of held breath and suspended energy before the leap into something new. Integral to that focus is the questioning of whether the something new into which the action leaps is a good course.

We begin in November with a re-interpretation of some of the tales from the Metamorphoses of Ovid (we’ll have more details for you later with regards to the exact translation that we’ll be working from). In February, we return with a fully realized production of Howard Barker’s The Europeans, of which we performed a staged reading last fall for 21 for 21. Finally, in May, we welcome Bridget O’Leary as a guest director for Wallace Shawn’s bitingly dark Aunt Dan and Lemon. We’ll spend some time over the next month letting you know more about each of these upcoming productions.

For now, for those of you who are looking to mark your calendars:

Stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses
November 4th-20th, 2010
November 3rd – Pay-What-You-Can Preview

The Europeans, By Howard Barker
February 10th-26th, 2011
February 9th – Pay-What-You-Can Preview

Aunt Dan and Lemon, by Wallace Shawn
April 27th -May 21st, 2011**
April 26th – Pay-What-You-Can Preview

**Part of a month-long rep series with Mill 6 Collaborative
Exact schedule to be announced soon

We’re looking forward to exploring this season with you – and we’ll keep you posted as we have more to share.

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