MEET THE CREATIVES / BEHIND THE SCENES
On Wednesday we were lucky enough to have talkbacks following the matinee and evening performance of The Brightness of Heaven. After the matinee, playwright Laura Pedersen and director Ludovica Villar-Hauser discussed religion, family, and the play itself. Audience members wanted to hear about the playwright’s process and Laura was happy to give them a glimpse into her process.
The evening audience was also curious about the process of writing the play but equally curious about the process of actually producing it. We had the special treat of being joined by our Set and Costume Designer Meganne George who was able to shed further light on what it takes “behind the scenes” to put on a play.
Director Ludovica Villar-Hauser shared that in London it is much more customary for designers to design both set and costumes, but in America this is not common at all. Meganne is an anomaly and a talented one at that! Meganne shared "I always did both but when I went to grad school for costume design the set design teacher said 'why are you not double majoring?’ So I did and I was the first person to double major in my program!”
Meganne was the Set and Costume designer for the first production of The Brightness of Heaven in November 2012 and her collaboration with Laura Pedersen and Ludovica Villar-Hauser has continued with this production as well as the VH Theatrical Development Foundation production of This Will All Be Yours (book by Laura Pedersen, music and lyrics by Charles Bloom). Ludovica pointed out the importance of collaboration and communication amongst team members: “We have a language. We understand each other.”
When you watch The Brightness of Heaven you can see how important Meganne’s design is to the show and how it so wonderfully compliments Ludovica’s direction and Laura Pedersen’s writing. Audience members commented that they felt transported right back to 1974.
We learned that many of the props and set pieces are actual pieces from the time period. Laura Pedersen joked “Whenever Meganne has family members in the audience, we hear things like ‘Wait… wasn’t that my Aunt’s toaster??’ — I fear for her relatives, really. They could be lying on the couch having a nap and the next thing you know their shoes are gone and being worn on stage by a character in some play!”
Don’t miss our next talkback on Wednesday, December 3 after the 7PM performance - Family Dynamics (just in time for the holidays!) You can buy tickets to The Brightness of Heaven here! (link to https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/934700)
Soundview Summer will be part of the Tongues Reading Series at the Cherry Lane on December 9th at 2 PM!
Join us for a reading of Soundview Summer on Tuesday December 9th at 2:00PM. It will be held as part of the Tongues: Cherry Lane Reading Series at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre (38 Commerce Street). It is free, but you will need to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We had another fabulous talkback on Wednesday November 12th after the evening performance of The Brightness of Heaven. This time our writer and director were joined by Jeff Stone of Dignity NY. Established in 1972, Dignity/New York, a chapter member of Dignity USA, is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to encourage gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (GLBT) persons and their friends to express their sexuality in a manner consonant with Christ's teachings. Dignity helps people to become more active members of the Roman Catholic Church and society, and works through education and legal reforms for justice and the social acceptance of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons.
The themes within The Brightness of Heaven, including homosexuality and the church are still very relevant today. Children are still being cast-out by their parents, because their sexuality is not embraced within the church. The audience was very eager to engage with Mr. Stone and our creative team. They shared their personal experiences and listened intently to Mr. Stone’s insightful commentary.
Although things are shifting in today’s society the LGBTQ community still runs the risk of being ostracized from the faith that they grew up in. Laura Peterson discussed the culture of religion in public school as a child and how that has changed. We are not expected to all say the same prayer before sports games. Our lives don’t necessarily have the same saturation in the church that it used to, but LGBTQ kids still run the risk of being shunned at home.
It is difficult to shift archaic religious ideals of a generation that was raised within the church and who have held firm to those beliefs. Joyce in The Brightness of Heaven states that the church was everything to them, it was where they grew-up, socialized, and married. People who have been so connected and nurtured within the church are being asked to choose between their faith and their children. Dignity offers a place where LGBTQ persons can embrace their faith and community, while not suppressing who they are. So hopefully the Jimmy’s of today can still connect with their families and their faiths.
Visit Dignity/NY Website HERE
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