Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What We Learn from Love

"It was a love that just... happened... to me. And now it is a love that has ...ceased to happen. It came to me. And now it is going away in exactly the same way." - Silvia

Unexpected love transforms the characters in Marivaux's Changes of Heart. To begin rehearsal, director Timothy Douglas had each actor, designer and staff member introduce themselves with their name and an answer to this question:

What did you learn when you met your great, true love?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Inside the Rehearsal Room with Vincent Scott

As recipient of the Stage Director's and Choreographer Foundation Observership Award , I sit and watch the magic each day as director Timothy Douglas and cast and crew rehearse the next play of the Remy Bumppo season, Changes of Heart. Through the rehearsal period, I will blog my personal inside impressions of this creative process.

The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Observership is a program designed to give an emerging artist a chance to work with a master director. The emerging artist gets first-hand knowledge of their master director's process and compares it to their own. There are usually 25 of these scholarships given throughout the year, offered at regional theaters across the country as well as Broadway.

I, myself reside in New York and have experience directing plays there, as well as Los Angeles and London. I recently directed a new play written by Peter Welch called Two Alone Too Together at the 2011 New York International Fringe Festival. I am thrilled to be observing and working with Timothy Douglas and Remy Bumppo on their production of Changes of Heart. I have been here for about a week and I can't wait to blog about the inside scope of my first week’s rehearsal experiences.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Join the conversation about 'Mourning Becomes Electra'

Have you experienced our production of Mourning Becomes Electra?

We want to hear from you about this theater experience. Here on the blog, we invite you to share what your heart is thinking and what your mind is feeling after witnessing the play.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Talk-backs at 'The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?"

I wanted to share a little about talk-backs on this show. It has always been a deep part of our commitment to our audiences that we choose plays that engender a lot of discussion. The Goat has had amazing talk-backs. We almost never have the same questions, except perhaps, "Do you think the family can stay together and move forward?" We really leave that for you all, where your imagination takes that.

Our groups have been larger than ever and the sessions have been longer and incredibly interesting. Last night careened off into a great discussion on the nature of sin and specifically religion in the play (Albee having been raised Catholic and religious allusions always popping up). The group seemed to be filled with scholars and teachers, not the least of whom is our own Nick Sandys, who took off giving us all the entomology of the word "sin" , it's Greek origin and that it basically means "fatal flaw", as in what brings our hero down in tragedy.

We have become so enamored with getting to have these discussions, that we now are offering to meet anyone who wants to talk about the show at Aquitaine. It's our favorite after show place to go because one can get a lovely glass of wine, great food, and HEAR each other. That is a new experience on this part of Lincoln Ave.

Anyway, this is really just a rant to say "thank you" to all who have stayed for these great discussions. Please know how much we treasure them.

-Annabel Armour
Artistic Associate

Annabel is appearing at Stevie in The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?
Talk-backs are offered again on Sunday May 1 and Thursday May 5.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Join the conversation about 'The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?'

Have you experienced our production of Albee's The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?

We want to hear from you about this theater experience. Here on the blog, we invite you to share what your heart is thinking and what your mind is feeling after witnessing the play. Throughout the run, our artists will respond to the things that are coming up for our audiences.

POST A COMMENT now and return to hear from other Chicagoans about their night with the play.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero

Up next in our Translations and Adaptations Play Reading Series is Vanity Fair, adapted by Adam Pasen. Join us for this local playwright's take on William Makepeace Thackeray's 19th century satire of British society.

Vanity Fair
presented as part of Translations and Adaptations Play Reading Series
Sunday, May 20, 2011
Greenhouse Theater Center

Directed by Nick Sandys

Lydia Berger
Luke Daigle
David Darlow
Diane Dorsey
Joel Huff
Ron Keaton
Saren Nofs-Snyder
Katherine Romond
Nick Sandys

"...the Jos, the fat gourmand drank up the whole contents of the bowl; and the consequence of his drinking up the whole content of the bowl was, a liveliness which at first was astonishing, and then became almost painful..."

See Thackeray's original illustrations for his serial, initially published over the course of 20 months between 1847 and 1848.

From thevictorianweb.com Image scanned by Gerald Ajam and captions by Tiaw Kay Siang and Sabrina Lim.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Modern Marivaux

By Jim Manganello

***Our January 23rd Translations & Adaptations Play Reading will be Surprised By Love, based on Marivaux's La Seconde Surprise de l'Amour

Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux was the child of an administrator in provincial France of the late 17th century. Unlike his predecessor, Moliere, he never achieved success within his lifetime. He was never well-off, he died poor, and little is known of his life—the perfect preconditions for literary obscurity. Therefore the story of Marivaux is the story of his contemporary reception.

Marivaux’s plays were almost immediately buried under the criticism of the prevailing thinkers of his age, the Enlightenment philosophes. To them, Marivaux’s complex language and preference for artificiality over realism—a trait he picked up from the “Italian players” of the Commedia dell’Arte he so loved—seemed like a conservative throwback to the Regency years, an irresponsible celebration of upper-class flirtations and frivolities. The men of the Enlightenment correctly interpreted Marivaux’s theater as one driven by language rather than plot. Voltaire contemptuously coined the term “Marivaudage” to refer to this preference for language as an art in itself, rather than as a useful descriptor of the extensional world. He lambasted Marivaux’s writing as “weighing flies’ eggs on scales made from a spider’s web.” If the criticism wasn’t shellacking enough, Marivaux was finally done in by the French Revolution, behind which he was plastered as a relic of the flippant past.

Marivaux’s excavation didn’t occur until nearly two centuries later, when some of the most forward-thinking French directors of the 1950s—Jean Louis Barrault, Roger Planchon, Patrice Chereau—mounted vibrant and sometimes radical productions of the plays. Actresses were attracted by the plays’ many meaty female roles. Moreover, the very qualities that had prompted Voltaire, et al., to dismiss Marivaux as a fuchsia-tinted loofah appealed to modern directors’ and audiences’ hunger for a darker, more complex approach to love. True, Marivaux’s almost fablistic plots followed almost exclusively the romantic machinations of the well-to-do. Given that milieu, however, his depiction of love is conflicting, political, almost violent. If in Moliere the obstacle to love is almost always some external force (the father-tyrant), Marivaux sought out the internal impediment to love, and his plays are as much about that self-quest as about the entrances and exits of lovers and villains. In that way, Marivaux reaches toward modernity.

Marivaux’s celebration in the English-speaking world was delayed yet another few decades, as most translations had been academic exercises, rather than theatrical projects. That changed in England with some vibrant and witty translations by Neil Bartlett and Timberlake Wertenbaker in the early 90s, and a little later in the States with the enormously well-received work of opera-director Stephen Wadsworth and Paul Schmidt (in collaboration with Dominique Serrand and his Theatre de la Jeune Lune). Other than Serrand’s productions, American attempts at Marivaux have tended to be more conservative than their European counterparts, focusing more on the specific situations of love and heartbreak and less on the political, worldly context. But Marivaux, both in his native tongue and in translation, seems to be constantly reinventing himself, so who knows what his afterlife might become?


France, Peter. “Marivaux, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de (1688-1765).” New Oxford Companion to Literature in French. Oxford University Press, 1995.

Kramm, Maggi and Alisa Solomon. “All You Need Is Love.” American Theatre. February 1994: Vol 11, Issue 2.

Solomon, Alisa. “Marivaux our contemporary.” The Village Voice. 21 December 1993


Surprised by Love
January 23, 2011
at 6:30 p.m.
Greenhouse Theater Center

by Dennis Porter
based on the play
La Seconde Surprise de l'Amour by Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux
Directed by Julieanne Ehre

Featuring Kelsey Brennan, Joe Foust, Linda Gillum, Paul Hurley and Shawn Douglass

The widow of a nobleman and a heartbroken lord—both young and both weary of the disasters love has allotted to them—determinedly embark on a purely platonic friendship. But miscommunication, cross-purposes, and of course sexual attraction threaten their experiment in celibate camaraderie. In a single chateau of early 18th century France, Marivaux examines the tension between truths and ideals in love.

RSVP by emailing rsvp@remybumppo.org or call 773.244.8119.