Last night's talkback was about religion and society. Playwright Laura Pedersen and Director Ludovica Villar-Hauser discussed the role of religion in the 1970's and how it has been incorporated into the play. Audience members were eager to share their experiences and discuss how the show reflected their own lives.
One woman spoke to her upbringing in a conservative Jewish community in the 1970's and how it was actually very similar to that of the Catholic children in the play. She described the struggle between older more conservative members of the community and the youth who were questioning the values they were raised with. The theme of family and the contention between generations was one that much of the audience related to.
"The younger people really observed their elders and figured out what they wanted and how they wanted to live. The wings of change are there. They question the old and embrace the new. The play was beautifully done and really showed the divide between old and young."
The audience was also extremely engaged with the characters in the play. The family have all been written and acted with such compassion. There was a general consensus that it was hard to choose the character that a person identified with. The characters were written with empathy and they are easy to love, even when you don't agree with everything they are saying. They are good people that love their family, but can't always understand one another.
"I thought you did a wonderful job with the characters we really got to know them in just an hour."
"I love that there was no sense of judgement in this play. Your heart went out to all the characters."
Please consider joining us for future talkbacks. We would love to hear your feedback and discuss the topics in the play and the world around it that has influenced it's creation.
Wednesday, November 12th
3PM and 7PM Performance
TOPIC: Homosexuality and the Church
Wednesday, November 19th
3PM and 7PM Performance
TOPIC: Behind The Scenes at The Brightness of Heaven
Wednesday, December 3rd
3PM and 7PM Performance
TOPIC: Family Dynamics
We were thrilled to be joined at this matinee performance by The Twentieth Century Club of Buffalo (TCC), as well as director Ludovica Villar-Hauser and playwright Laura Pedersen, a native Buffalonian herself! "The Twentieth Century Club of Buffalo is considered to be one of the oldest and most historic private women’s clubs in the United States.”
After the performance there was talkback on the topic The Changing Role of Women in Society. Though this was the focus of the talkback, the conversation also touched how the role of religion has changed in society.
The women of Century Club were thrilled to see themselves in Ms. Pedersen’s characters:
“You just presented my life to me!”
“I think I’m a cross between the mom and the daughter.
We are who we are and we are God-given.”
Audience members from all different types of backgrounds — Irish like the Kilgannons, Italian, Polish — talked about religion and how it affected their childhood and in many cases defined it. Ms. Pedersen even joked that in her school “If you broke a leg in gym, they told you to offer it up!” She went on to say that "It would be easy to sit up here and poke fun at everything the church does wrong. But what we were really trying to do is show how the parents were raised in a specific time and really wanted what was best for their kids… the world suddenly changed, the rug was kind of pulled out from under them, and it put them in a very difficult spot.”
As times change, so do the values of society. In many cases, these changes are beneficial. For example, one audience member pointed out that when she was growing up if a woman was pregnant “you couldn’t use the word pregnant. You had to say ‘She’s in that way.’” Women could be fired for being pregnant. Having a career and being a mother simultaneously was practically impossible. As a woman “You didn’t have choices back then,” stated Ms. Pedersen. During the conversation, a consensus was reached — the role of women in society has changed greatly, but we still have a long way to go!
Director Ludovica Villar-Hauser shared “Women get less than 20% of the paying jobs in theater. We have an entirely female design team which we are very proud about!” Ms. Villar-Hauser also encouraged the audience members to become acquainted with Works by Women (www.worksbywomen.org), an advocacy organization geared towards gender parity in theatre.
As the talkback came to a close, the 20th Century Club women asked when The Brightness of Heaven would be coming to Buffalo. Ms. Villar-Hauser and Ms. Pedersen shared emphatically that “we would love to go to Buffalo!” Perhaps that is in the future for The Brightness of Heaven!
The Brightness of Heaven by Laura Pedersen is playing at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre until December 14th, 2014. Don’t miss your chance to see the show and join the conversation!
2014 MITF AWARDS Nominees are…
Outstanding Production of a Full-Length Musical
Bielzy & Gottfried
Eddie & the Palaceades
This Will All Be Yours
Warp Speed: A Sci Fi Parody Musical
Outstanding New Book, Music & Lyrics for a Full-Length Musical
Clara Hoch, Eva Thorpe, Brandon Boling, Erich Hoch, Elvis Miller,
Henry Koperski, Shawn Hollenbach, Jason J. Michael, Amanda
Humphreys, Christopher Noffke, Warp Speed: A Sci Fi Parody Musical
Pat Holley, Me & Caesar Lee
Aaron Michael Krueger, New Dawn
Roy O’Neill and Stephen Feigenbaum, Eddie & the Palaceades
Laura Pedersen and Charles Bloom, This Will All Be Yours
Outstanding Direction of a Full-Length Musical
Jamibeth Margolis, Eddie & the Palaceades
Lexie Fennell Frare, New Dawn
Omar Hansen, Bielzy & Gottfried
Christopher Noffke, Warp Speed: A Sci Fi Parody Musical
Ludovica Villar-Hauser, This Will All Be Yours
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Full-Length Musical
Bill E. Dietrich, Eddie & the Palaceades
Matt Farcher, This Will All Be Yours
Collin Kessler, Warp Speed
Max King, New Dawn
Josh Powell, This Will All Be Yours
Daniel Rowan, This Will All Be Yours
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Full-Length Musical
Jenny Rose Baker, This Will All Be Yours
Sheila Egan, Eddie & the Palaceades
Amy Griffin, This Will All Be Yours
Robyn Payne, Me & Caesar Lee
DeAnne Stewart, Warp Speed: A Sci Fi Parody Musical
Outstanding Scenic Design (Play or Musical)
Daniel Geggatt, Long Division
Fiona Kearns, The Whole Damn Thing
Natalie Pecora, The Bauer Sisters
Meganne George, This Will All Be Yours
Clara Hoch and Gabrielle Robinson, Warp Speed: A Sci Fi Parody Musical
for more information on the 2014 MITF Awards visit
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