Of the marvelous theatre experiences I’ve been given, the most extraordinary ones have been works of massive scale: Genet’s 5 ½ hour The Screens at the Guthrie, Shakespeare’s History Plays at the Guthrie (Richard II, Henry IV, Parts I and II, and Henry V), Angels in America at the Alley, etc… These are huge works that demand so much of the artists committed to them, and so much from the organization that produces them. We chose NICHOLAS NICKLEBY in order to test ourselves; to test ideas about company, ideas about collaboration, ideas about narrative storytelling, and ideas about community.
The play’s opening narration includes the lines:
“Speculate. His wife advised him.
Think of your brother, Mr Nickleby, and speculate.
And Mr Nickleby did speculate,
But a mania prevailed,
A bubble burst,
Four stockbrokers took villa residences at Florence,
Four hundred nobodies were ruined,
And one of them was
When David Edgar’s play appeared 30 years ago it was a window into a world that had passed from view. Producing the play now, in a time when people who have worked hard and well all their lives can wake-up to find their jobs and their savings are gone, that they have no health insurance, that they belong to a society which treats its poor with indifference or contempt, the piece feels entirely current. We are thrilled that David Edgar will be in residence with us for part of the rehearsal process, helping us to navigate his extraordinary play.
I am excited to co-direct the play with my colleague Tom Quaintance, to have every actor in our resident company in the piece, to work with our spectacular resident designers McKay Coble, Jan Chambers and Jade Bettin, our vocal and movement coaches Bonnie Raphael and Craig Turner, our stage managers Sarah Smiley and Chuck Bayang and all of our artisans and craftspeople who create the extraordinary physical world of the play through sets, costumes, props, lights and sound.
We look forward to having you join us on this journey. Check back frequently to hear from the team about the process of putting it all together!