Spokane Civic Theatre
It’s time to gear up for Kaleidoscope 2013
And no, we do not mean the little tube toy with mirrors and glass and colors that uses reflections to create ever changing patterns. We mean the State Theatre Festival. This year’s Washington State Community Theatre Festival will be held in Bremerton at the Bremerton Community Theatre and takes place February 28 through March 3 and includes participants from the Tacoma Musical Playhouse – they happen to be presenting The Drowsy Chaperone which Civic opens on the Main Stage on February 22. Small theatre world, we tell you – and the Richland Players among other theatres. The full list is available on the Kaleidoscope flyer on the Bremerton Theatre website.
Civic is turning the screw for this year’s competition
In October 2011, Turn of the Screw, directed by Susan Hardie, consistently played to sold out audiences. It was part mystery, part scary story, part thriller and more. Doug Dawson played The Man and Laticia Widman, The Woman. And yes, those were the actual names of their roles. The play received wonderful reviews from both professional and lay reviewers in the Spokane community.
We interviewed Susan to get the 411 on the Festival, Turn of the Screw and Spokane Civic Theatre’s plans moving forward:
Spokane Civic Theatre: Susan, will you explain the AACT competition?
Susan Hardie: The American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) is a non-profit organization that provides networking, resources and support to community theatres across the nation. Every two years, they hold a giant national theatre festival called AACTFest. Community theatres from across the country (broken down by AACT into 10 regions) enter productions for adjudication and advancement from state to regional to national level. Spokane Civic Theatre has had a remarkable history at AACTFest, advancing and receiving more top honors, I believe, than any other Community Theatre in the country. You can look up the stats on Civic’s website I think…
Civic: Who is going to this one and where is it?
Susan: This time, Civic has chosen our production of “The Turn of the Screw”, a show I originally directed in Studio Theatre last season. We are heading to Bremerton, WA to compete at the first level, the State Competition. We’ll be competing with eight other theatres from around WA state for advancement to the Regionals.
Civic: How long have you been preparing? What does it take to put this together?
Susan:I started cutting the play quite a few months ago. Festival rules dictate a sixty-minute time limit for each show. If your show goes one second over 60 minutes, you’re screwed. Disqualified. I cut about 25 minutes off the show. That was an interesting process… We all started getting together to read/time the newly cut script and plan rehearsals, etc. starting in November, I think. We just met a few times in Dec & January and now that we’re into February we’re hitting it hard. Several things need to happen: the cast has to re-learn a cut version of the script; the blocking must change to accommodate a proscenium stage with different dimensions than we had in the Studio; the set must be redesigned to fit the new space, to travel, and for ease of assembly. But the really fun stuff is the opportunity to revisit the show and continue to explore it, tweak it and make it better!
Civic: Synopsis of Turn of the Screw?
Susan: Based on Henry James’ classic ghost story, “The Turn of the Screw” is the story of a young, impressionable Governess who travels to a lonely English manor house called Bly to care for two recently orphaned children. But she is not their first governess. Her predecessor, Miss Jessel, drowned herself when she became pregnant by the sadistic valet, Peter Quint, who was himself found dead soon after under mysterious circumstances. Dark, shocking secrets emerge, and soon the Governess is seeing specters of Quint and Jessel haunting the children. The classic question this piece begs (and the subject of endless literary debate) is, are the ghosts real, or are they the product of the Governess’ own fevered imagination? The play, like the novella, leaves this purposefully ambiguous. So be prepared to come and use your own imagination, which sometimes can be scarier than anything you can see with your own eyes.
Civic: Which scene will they be playing out?
Susan: Rather than cut big chunks out of the script, I peeled out select lines or parts of lines, or speeches that were not vital to the understanding of the play. So you will see a “condensed” version of the original.
Civic: Can anyone attend this?
Susan: Absolutely! It would be wonderful to see lots of folks at our free final dress rehearsal at Civic on Monday, 2/25 at 7:30pm! The audience is the final, vital piece of the puzzle and having this opportunity to play before a crowd is huge! And I think for the audience, it’s interesting to see the cast & crew assemble the set in under 10 minutes and then strike it in under 10 minutes. That is definitely part of the performance. The Festival is open to the public too (although not free), and I’m sure the theatre could get information to anyone who wished to attend and cheer us on! We perform at the Bremerton Community Theatre on Saturday night, March 2nd at about 8:25pm. We will be the final production at the Festival. So if you’re in the neighborhood… come on by!
Via Yvonne AK Johnson’s Launchpad INW Blog
Opening Night of Turn of the Screw
Set to open this Friday in the Firth Chew Studio at Spokane Civic Theatre, the Turn of the Screw is already sold out. With less than 100 seats per performance, I am not surprised, yet this very well may mean the remaining 11 shows could sell out as well.
Again, not surprising. The Turn of the Screw is one of the best ghost stories of our time. The Jeffrey Hatcher version, which is the version I chose for the Triumphant Season, is bare bones and even more eerie than the original. Under Susan Hardie’s direction, you can expect a production stripped on excess and focusing on the actors and the various parts they play.
I hope you walk away chilled.
Snuck backstage at Spokane Civic Theatre and got a load of the stage and scenery sketch for Turn of the Screw (Ghost story….oh yea!). I don’t know about you, but I am damn well fascinated with what goes in to creating the sets behind productions.
Even the sketch looks sketchy, doesn’t it?
Spokane Civic Theatre selects cast for Turn of the Screw
Cast selected for Turn of the Screw.
Doug Dawson will play the Man and Laticia Widman, the Woman. Yep, those are the actual character names found in the scimpt.
Doug Dawson is a long time Spokane Civic Theatre veteran, winning a Spokie for Featured Actor, Musical as The Major-General in The Pirates of Penzance and a Noted Supporting Performance in a Musical as Marcellus Washburn, The Music Man. You might also recognize Doug from Annie Get Your Gun when he took on the roll of Buffalo Bill.
Laticia Widman will be making her debut at Spokane Civic Theatre. And we are pleased to have her stepping up on stage for the first time at Spokane Civic Theatre.
Turn of the Screw will be directed by Susan Hardie who most recently directed Frost/Nixon at Spokane Civic Theatre, Turn of the Screw will scare, startle, and creep you out. Susan has previously directed String of Pearls and won a National award for her direction Getting Out (1987). She last appeared in The Cemetery Club during Spokane Civic Theatre’s Season of Imagination.
Turn of the Screw, originally a novella by Henry James, is a chilling ghost story - expect creepiness, expect creepy.
Dramatists Play Service sums up Turn of the Screw with:
Based on the provocative tale of suspense, horror and repressed sexuality, this adaptation gives the famous story yet another turn of its own. A young governess journeys to a lonely English manor house to care for two recently orphaned children. But she is not their first governess. Her predecessor, Miss Jessel, drowned herself when she became pregnant by the sadistic valet, Peter Quint, who was himself found dead soon after under mysterious circumstances. Now the new governess has begun to see the specters of Quint and Jessel haunting the children, and she must find a way to stop the fiends before it is too late. But one frightening question tortures the would-be heroine: Are the ghosts real, or are they the product of her own fevered imagination?Turn of the Screw opens at Spokane Civic Theatre in the Firth J Chew Studio on October 21st. With less than 90 seats available per performance, you will want to consider reserving your seat sooner rather than later. Call Rebecca at Spokane Civic Theatre’s box office at 509.325.2507.
From the Spokesman Review Features Desk
Our thanks to the The Spokesman-Review for this excerpt from their recent article summing up upcoming Spokane stage events.
Spokane Civic Theatre – This is where you’ll find both of the aforementioned Gothic governesses, one from the pen of Henry James, the other from the pen of Charlotte Bronte.
But first, we’ll meet a vivacious ’20s flapper in the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” on the Main Stage, Sept. 23-Oct. 23.
You might remember Millie Dillmount from the 1967 movie. This is the musical version of her story, which became a 2002 Broadway hit. Expect a lot of toe-tapping songs and some big tap numbers. Kathie Doyle-Lipe and Greg Pschirrer direct.
That will be followed on the Main Stage by a new version of “A Christmas Carol,” Nov. 18-Dec. 18. You’ll see all of the great Dickens characters – and a few puppets, as well. Troy Nickerson directs.
Over in the Firth J. Chew Studio Theatre, Henry James’ literary ghost story “The Turn of the Screw” runs Oct. 21-Nov. 13. It has a two-person cast, with one actress playing the governess and another playing all of the other roles. Susan Hardie directs.
We’ll meet the other governess in the Civic’s annual musical-in-concert fundraiser, “Jane Eyre,” Oct. 28-29 on the Main Stage. This is the Paul Gordon musical that arrived on Broadway in 2000. Yvonne A.K. Johnson directs.
Overall, the Civic has been on an upswing in terms of both audience and quality. Johnson said season ticket sales exceed last year’s record pace.
The 65th Triumphant Season begins today!
The big day is HERE! Public tickets for Thoroughly Modern Millie and Season Subscriber tickets (must have Combo season membership or studio season membership) for Turn of the Screw are on sale today.
Rebecca is waiting for (or rather answering all of) your calls: 509.325.2507.
Have you reserved your seats?