Central Ohio will get to see a production of Anton Chekov’s 1896 play The Seagull—probably the least often performed of the Russian master’s four late masterpieces—this weekend. And this Seagull won’t be just one of the usual flock.
First of all, it’s outside, in Dublin’s Scioto Park, in what is being called a “promenade performance,” where the audience follows the actors around.
Second, the play is being presented by 11:11 Productions, founded in the spring of 2000 by Brian Tuttle. The young company has so far done most of its work during the summers, traveling around the Midwest before finally settling in Columbus. Tuttle explains the company name as a combination of making wishes when a clock reads 11:11 with the notion of the life-changing eleventh hour.
Finally, it’s being directed by David Gothard, who was for many years associated with London’s Riverside Studios, legendary home of the performing avant-garde. There and elsewhere he has worked with many of the greatest theater, dance and film artists of our time, from Samuel Beckett to Trisha Brown to Peter Greenaway.
As an undergraduate in the University of Iowa Playwright’s Workshop, Tuttle met and studied under guest artist Gothard, who took an interest in his work. This summer, Tuttle persuaded Gothard to come to Columbus to direct several 11:11 productions, including The Seagull. His lifelong association with the theatrical cutting edge notwithstanding, Gothard firmly believes that actors should perform in every play of Shakespeare and Chekhov in order to inspire new work.
The outdoor setting should inspire audience members to bring along chairs or blankets, as well as some insect repellant. The Seagull will be performed August 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m., and August 17 at 2 p.m.
— Jay Weitz
“Four Spoonfuls of Theatre”
Ten years after the implosion of Players Theatre Columbus, four existing groups are staging what may be the most ambitious attempt of local theater companies to pool their resources. The small but big-thinking companies that make up the newly formed Columbus Theatre League are collaborating on such matters as advertising and promotion, a web site and several projects to remind Central Ohio that we actually have a rather proud theater history.
But first things first—the four troupes will team up tomorrow night at MadLab’s home space for a fundraising event they’re calling Four Spoonfuls of Theatre, which will include previews of upcoming productions from the four groups, in addition to musical entertainment, improv comedy from Full Frontal Nudity and the introduction of CTL’s zine Theatre Summit.
BlueForms Theatre Group, which impressed local theatergoers with last December’s The Waste Land and this summer’s A/ThePostModernLoveStory, offers a foretaste of Beat About the Bush, its next original work. The complete Beat, which was composed using the improvisational processes of British film director Mike Leigh, will open August 28.
Warehouse Theatre Company will perform excerpts from Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, which will open August 29 (and which, ironically enough, was one of Players Theatre’s last productions during the winter of 1993). Pantheatrics is presenting two shorts, Metropolitan Operas and Anger Box. Its next production, opening September 5, will be Mass Appeal, which happens to be the play that launched CATCO in 1985. Finally, a preview of Too Much Theatre… will be host company MadLab’s contribution to the evening.
Offstage, CTL’s plans include the compilation of a production history of theatres in Columbus and a Columbus theater oral history project. The super group will dole out its Spoonfuls Friday, August 15 at 8 p.m. For more information, dial 792-8287. —Jay Weitz
August 14, 2003
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