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Archive for the ‘2017 Season’ Category

Headwaters Festival – 2017

Thu. Sep. 21

2017 FESTIVAL SELECTIONS

Visible from Four States
by Barbara Hammond

This subtle, profound story will grip you until the final blackout. Visible from Four States centers around a small American town wrestling with whether to put a cross or a cellphone tower on its only hilltop. As the townspeople grapple over their core beliefs, the local prison warden’s friendship deepens with a young man on death row. Barbara Hammond explores the deepest issues of responsibility, tradition, and mercy by placing each of her characters at the modern crossroads of belief and communication. Can an individual carry the moral burden of a nation?

Director – Kent Thompson
Stage Manager – Nia Sciarretta
Dramaturg – Jessica Kahkoska

Daniel – Stuart Rider
Joanna – Anne F. Butler
Pastor Al – Ben Newman
Ike – Logan Ernstthal
Pilgrim/Guitarist – John S. Green
2nd Musician – TBD
Stage Directions – Bethany Talley


The Mess of Us
by Moss Kaplan and Greg Ungar

Sam and Ross’s life is getting a bit messy: their 15 year-old daughter Ruby is caught sexting, a job opportunity threatens to uproot the family, Sam’s mother has become something of a hoarder, and now the family’s off to Vermont to help clean out her ramshackle home. But there’s more to clean up than is possible for this combustible family. The Mess of Us is an intelligent, big-hearted comedy that will test the bounds of a family’s love and leave audiences rolling in the aisles. As Nagle Jackson put it: “CRT audiences will bless you for this!”

Director – Lynne Collins
Stage Manager – Alex Skaar
Dramaturg – Jessica Kahkoska

Cheryl – Christy Brandt
Sam – Kate Berry
Ross – Rick D. Wasserman
Ruby – Wren Green
Dennis – Jim Hunt
Stage Directions – Zoe Ruth Sisson Silberblatt


Caliban’s Island
by Diana Burbano

Characters from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and The Tempest intertwine when a set of twins is shipwrecked on an island. As the siblings race to reunite, they encounter a young girl with magical powers, a deceptively cute fairy, and a horned monster with a heart of gold. Caliban’s Island explores the struggle between wishes, dreams and wisdom. Bring the entire family to this witty, whimsical celebration of language and life. Part Peter and the Starcatcher, part Shakespeare, Burbano writes with a unique voice all her own.

Director – Charlie Oates
Stage Manager – Aaron McEachran

Mira – Portland Thomas
Caliban – Graham Ward
Fluffy – Caitlin Wise
Vi – Rachel Irwin
Bast – Claudio Venancio
Stage Directions – Lucas Bareis-Golumb

General Store

Fri. Sep. 15

World Premiere

by Brian Watkins

Rated R
Main Stage
One 15 minute intermission

Mike’s determined to keep his faltering general store up and running and he’ll let nothing get in the way: not his two wily daughters, the trucker who thinks he’s dead, the rancher who thinks he’s dying, or even the blizzard outside. But something mysterious is under the floorboards. And it’s getting louder and hungrier. Can Mike save his American Dream from the ravenous creature beneath his store? Or should he just save himself instead? Part Sam Shepard, part Stephen King, Watkins’ writing finds an innovative and thrilling American voice all its own. The most talked-about play in Headwaters New Play Festival history will grip you until the final blackout.


CREATIVE TEAM

Director
Scenic Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Production Stage Manager
Rehearsal Stage Manager
Asst. Stage Manager
Asst. Stage Manager
Asst. Stage Manager
Christy Montour-Larson+
Robert Mark Morgan++
Clare Henkel++
Jacob Welch
Jason Ducat
Devon Muko*
Nia Sciarretta*
Lucas Bareis-Golumb
Alexandria Skaar
Aaron McEachran

 

CAST

Mike
Jim
Rick
Nikki
Greta
Logan Ernstthal*
Ben Newman*
Stuart Rider*
Caitlin Wise*
Bethany Eilean Talley

 

 

 

 


 

General Store is a World Premiere production of
CRT’s Headwaters New Play Program.

General Store was first developed at-and owes a special thanks to-Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, a project of id Theatre at the Alpine Playhouse-McCall, Idaho.
The play was also developed at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre and Labyrinth Theatre Company in New York City.

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

+ The Director is a member of the STAGE DIRECTORS AND CHOREOGRAPHERS SOCIETY, a national theatrical labor union.

++

 


DIRECTOR’S NOTE

“All money is a matter of belief”
– Adam Smith

“Power over a man’s salary is power over his will.”
– Alexander Hamilton

One day Brian Watkins watched friends try in vain to capture a mouse from beneath the floorboards. Hilarity ensued and an idea for a play was born.

I first met Brian in 2005, when he was on stage at Curious Theatre Company in Denver. Shortly thereafter, Brian turned from actor to playwright and our paths aligned again in 2012, when I was fortunate enough to direct a stage reading of his play General Store at Seven Devils Playwright Conference in McCall, Idaho. I was quickly seduced by the play’s humor and humanity and then lured into its dark and mysterious underbelly with questions that rattled my view on the world.

And I marveled at how thrilling it would be to put this play on stage. General Store is a beast of a play and requires a great deal of exertion. As the play becomes more parabolic each minute it goes on, so do the technical and acting challenges. As a result, every theatre company I shared the play with scratched their heads and said, “Not sure how we can do this play…” But not Creede Repertory Theatre. CRT looks at the play’s challenges with bravery and gusto and says, “We have to do this play!”General Store is not about one thing, but many. “Belief. Trust. Imagination. Hope. Truth. These are the vital organs of humanity,” says Brian. “If they atrophy, our worlds collapse. If we exploit them, we’ll sooner or later be swallowed whole.” The play doesn’t do the logical work of resolving questions, but rather asks one question only to find itself soon plumbing another, deeper. It is a play that is meant to be more felt than understood.

To me, General Store is a very personal play about the crisis facing our nation. I feel uncertain and I don’t like this feeling. I expect life to be a certain, reliable, and principled existence. Yet, I see many Americans giving it their all only to receive little in return. I see our nation divided, wanting to strangle each other in lieu of shaking a stranger’s hand. I don’t know what is under the floorboards, but it frightens me.

I think it is right that this scrappy, hard working theatre company in the heart of the American West presents the world premiere of General Store by Brian Watkins.

It is an honor to give this play to you.

Christy Montour-Larson


PLAYWRIGHT’S PERSPECTIVE

Thank you for coming to this play about crisis, a subject perhaps best known by its unknowability. In crisis, we find ourselves lacking more than having, directionless more than rightly-coursed, ever-humbled by our own lack of sovereignty. In my own experience, crisis has felt like a hurricane of Truth without Understanding. Or put another way by Flannery O’Connor: “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” At some point, amidst my uncertainty, crisis asks me to receive Truth with faith. Yet in our worst hours, faith is the very tool that crisis strips us of. How to respond? Are we guided by hope in a principle, a person, a pursuit?

Our current philosophical blend of logical positivism mixed with capitalism has ushered in a particular romance with measurability; an obsession with data and the bottom line, a sort of gauche instrumentalism that reduces humans to tools and ideas to utilities, valuing victory and power over principles, and finally robbing beauty from what is intrinsically good. It seems this unhealthy habit has plagued our civic minds with a sort of paralysis-by-analysis. We’re so naively certain that the most important things in existence are quantifiable and knowable (and therefore profitable), that when the unknowable eludes our grasp or inhabits our given office, we see it as a terrifying threat to our individual identity. As our divided national moment would show us, this philosophical hubris eventually ensnares us in anguish and fear.

Trust. Faith. Imagination. Hope. Truth. These are the vital organs of humanity. If they atrophy, our worlds collapse. If we exploit them, we’ll sooner or later be swallowed whole. Soon, the calamity trickles out, infecting the most vulnerable places first. Many Americans – particularly the poor and marginalized – are fending off that crisis every day, exhausted, losing faith, giving it their all only to receive little in return, driven to a survivalism that makes it harder and harder to shake a stranger’s hand. I hope this wild play can serve as a cathartic release valve for some of that angst. Empathy is a great antidote to the unknowability of crisis. So I thank you for being here, in the theatre – that great empathy factory – where we can wear another person’s soul for a few hours and soak in the mystery of existence together.

Brian Watkins


THE METAPHOR BEHIND THE MONSTER

What makes a good ghost story? Is it the punch line, a final revelation that releases the tension and elicits gasps of delight from the audience? Or is it the ability for the horror to reach inward, resembling something we’ve felt or experienced? Often powerful stories stick with us because they encapsulate something familiar-a thought or truth that’s difficult to express, but simple when embodied within the action of a narrative.

Our deepest fears are often hidden by mundanity, and it’s not until those worries are presented to us in a heightened fashion that we’re able to confront them. Stanley Kubrick’s movie The Shining, for example, takes a familiar concern-that we cause our loved ones pain-and dials it up to eleven. Rather than tell the story of a man slowly distancing himself from his wife and child because of career failures, the film depicts his attempt to literally dismember them while under a sinister force. In watching The Shining, we may come to terms with our potential to do unimaginable damage within the walls of our own home.

You can thread this line of thinking across all the best horror stories. What Dracula, Frankenstein, The Turn of the Screw, The Call of Cthulhu, The Exorcist, American Psycho, and The Witch all share is a metaphor around which their “monsters” coil. When the monster embodies the familiar fears of daily life, they haunt your imagination even more. By examining the personification of these fears over the history of horror, you can easily guess what most disturbed the storytellers and their audience.

Despite its abundant humor, General Store rises to the level of these unnerving classics. The haunting presence beneath Mike’s floor could be many things, but it certainly isn’t friendly. As the play ramps up to its riveting conclusion, Mike desperately tries to keep his legacy from slipping between his fingers. The final images of the play are sure to remain with you as you reflect on your own legacy, and what might lurk under the floorboards, waiting to take it from you.

Graham Ward

Talley’s Folly

Wed. Sep. 13

by Lanford Wilson

Rated PG
Ruth Theatre
No Intermission

Talley’s Folly is a play to savor and to cheer,” writes The New York Times. Set on a decaying boathouse on a quiet river in Lebanon, Missouri, two tragic yet glorious outcasts reunite on a July evening in 1944. As Matt Friedman woos Sally Talley and strives to break through her protective shell, pieces of the past come to the surface. Packed with tenderness and humor, this Pulitzer Prize winning romantic comedy will enrapture your heart and waltz through your mind for days.


CREATIVE TEAM

Director
Scenic/Lighting Design
Costume Design
Sound Design
Stage Manager
Asst. Stage Manager
Jessica Jackson
Matthew Schlief
Tatyana de Pavloff
Becca Pearce
Nia Sciarretta*
Alexandria Skaar

 

 

 

 

CAST

Matt Friedman
Sally Talley
Rick D. Wasserman*
Kate Berry*

 


Talley’s Folly is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


DIRECTOR’S NOTE

Let me tell you about Phoebe Wray. When I met her, she was 70-something years old, impish and tough-as-nails, teaching theatre history at The Boston Conservatory. She took simultaneously a personal and expansive approach to theatre history, alternating between first-person accounts of her gritty career and major movements in world history. On any given day, her lectures might include: her adventures as a young actor/director in 1960s Greenwich Village, how prostitutes invented Kabuki in 17th century Japan, her experience in the founding years of the off-off-Broadway movement and the first “gay” theatre, classical Sanskrit drama, what it was like to direct at La Mama, Indonesian shadow-puppet theatre, her unrequited love for her friend Lanford Wilson.

I don’t think she ever stopped loving him. She directed me in The Rimers of Eldritch, a Lanford Wilson play about a small community undone by gossip and prejudice. We seized any opportunity to talk to Phoebe about Lanford and what it was like in the early days, when they were all just a group of forward-thinking kids, writing plays and producing them at the legendary Caffe Cino. In this dark, magical hole-in-the-wall in Greenwich Village, playwriting was an expression of creativity free from commercial influences. Phoebe painted Caffe Cino as theatre at its purist: part hang-out, part underground coffee house illegally patched into the city’s electric grid, and entirely groundbreaking.

For a play that at its heart is about love, acceptance, and feeling like a fish out of water, it seems fitting to dedicate Talley’s Folly to Phoebe and all her Caffe Cino compatriots. Like Sally Talley and Matt Friedman, they were glorious outcasts who found a home in each other.

Jessica Jackson

Pants on Fire

Sat. Sep. 9

A TOTALLY MADE UP MUSICAL FOR KIDS!

Rated G
Ruth Theatre
No Intermission

Back by popular demand, Pants on Fire is the story of Ellie, a baby elephant who wants to be a firefighter. No, wait; it’s the story of Sarah, who wants to drive racecars on Mars. Sorry, it’s the story of Joey, whose earthworm pasta is taking over the school cafeteria. That can’t be right. Oh, now I’ve got it! Pants on Fire is the story of whatever you want it to be! Every show is an entirely brand-spanking new musical. How do we pull it off? With suggestions and interactive help from the audience. Bring the whole family again and again to the most creative hour of the summer.

 


CREATIVE TEAM

Scenic Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Stage Manager
Chris Winnemann
Tamara Carruthers
Mandi Wood
Aaron McEachran

 

CAST

John DiAntonio
Jessica Jackson
Brian Kusic
Graham Ward
Caitlin Wise
Kate Berry

 


Developed under CRT’s Headwaters New Play Program.

Created by John DiAntonio, Jessica Jackson, Brian Kusic, Graham Ward, Caitlin Wise, Renee Prince, and Joe Montelione.


She Loves Me

Fri. Sep. 8

Book by Joe Masteroff
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Based on a play by Miklos Laszlo

Rated PG
Main Stage
One 15-minute intermission

From the creators of Fiddler on the Roof, comes this classic romantic comedy about Georg and Amalia, feuding co-workers in a 1930s perfume shop. They find solace in writing their anonymous romantic pen-pals, who just happen to be each other. Will their love continue to blossom once they learn the truth? She Loves Me is based on a play by Miklos Laszlo, which inspired the classic film, The Shop Around the Corner, and the blockbuster hit, You’ve Got Mail. The whole family will fall in love with this heartfelt, nostalgic masterpiece.

TheatreColorado review.


CREATIVE TEAM

Director
Music Director
Choreographer
Scenic Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Engineer
Stage Manager
Asst. Stage Manager
Asst. Stage Manager
Asst. Stage Manager
Dance Captain
Michael Perlman+
Ian LeRoy
Maddy Apple
Rick Reeves
Asa Benally
Jacob Welch
Eaton Saylor
Devon Muko*
Nia Sciarretta*
Aaron McEachran
Alexandria Skaar
Emily Van Fleet*

 

CAST

Amalia Balash
Georg Nowack
Ilona Ritter
Steven Kodaly
Zoltan Maraczek
Ladislav Sipos
Arpad Laszlo
Headwaiter & U/S Georg
Butterfingers
Pianist
Pianist
Ensemble
Ensemble
Ensemble
Ensemble & U/S Ilona
Ensemble & U/S Amalia
Emily Van Fleet*
Donovan Woods*
Kate Berry*
Pat Moran
Logan Ernstthal*
Spencer D. Christensen
CJ Salvani
Josh Zwick
Brian Kusic
Ian LeRoy
Allan Stuart
Christy Brandt*
Annie F. Butler
Claudio Venancio
Bettina Lobo
Gina Velez

 

 


She Loves Me is presented by special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

+ The Director is a member of the STAGE DIRECTORS AND CHOREOGRAPHERS SOCIETY, a national theatrical labor union.


DIRECTOR’S NOTE

Well. Well well well well well well well well well.

What makes a “perfect” musical? So many musicals are written and yet so few are able to attain that type of perfection where the audience and actors ride a ride that can only be found in the delight of musical theater. There is a special kind of alchemy that occurs when three-dimensional, full blooded characters meet a timeless relatable story meets music that is a perfect expression of the lyrics which are simultaneously witty and heartfelt and meet an audience ready to be swept up in the journey that the writers have so meticulously crafted. How lucky are we that She Loves Me achieves this alchemic perfection and that we get to share it together?

For a perfect musical to mean anything, though, it must withstand the test of time. Not only has the story of She Loves Me withstood the test of time from its first iteration in Miklós László’s play Parfumerie to The Shop Around the Corner and In the Good Old Summertime and most recently in You’ve Got Mail, but in many ways it is exactly the story we need in our current climate of upheaval and tension. These characters, after all, are living in Budapest in the 1930s. They are landlocked in an increasingly fraught Europe that has fallen far past the brink of war, and are finding themselves in the middle of a changing economy in which they might be left behind. They are looking for hope of a better future and they look where so many of us have looked before and will keep looking-to love. In order to find that love, however, sometimes we have to look where we least suspect. Sometimes, as these characters find, we have to be willing to sit across from someone we think we hate-with whom we think we share nothing in common, with whom we think there could not possibly be anything on which we agree or even ways in which we see the same world-and discover that there may be plenty to love after all.

Will wonders never cease?

Michael Perlman

AmaliaGeorg

Costume sketches by Asa Benally


SHE LOVES ME, THE REMIX

If you love The Lion King, you are really loving Hamlet. If you love West Side Story, you are really loving Romeo and Juliet. When you find a story that strikes a chord, you’ve found gold. She Loves Me has a great ancestry and progeny. The story is timeless.

ParfumerieParfumerie
(1937)
The first seed of She Loves Me was a play called the Parfumerie by Miklos Laszlo written in 1937. The play coupled the funny young romantic leads with the older shop owner’s dissolving marriage. The play wasn’t performed in the United States until 2009.

 

Shop Around the CornerThe Shop Around the Corner
(1940)
From the seed of Parfumerie grew the delightful film, The Shop Around the Corner directed by Ernst Lubitsch and adapted by Samson Raphaelson starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart. The film retains the Budapest setting, but now the perfume shop is a leather shop. This low budget, modest film was ranked #28 by the American Film Institute on its list of “100 Years…100 Passions,” right behind The Sound of Music.

 

SummertimeIn the Good Old Summertime
(1949)
The Shop Around the Corner bloomed into the popular musical, In the Good Old Summertime, starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson. Chicago became the new setting for the musical and the leather shop was transformed into a music store. Buster Keaton, a long time silent film movie star, makes a comedic cameo as the nephew of the music storeowner.

 

You're Got MailYou’ve Got Mail
(1998)
The charming and witty movie, You’ve Got Mail, written by Nora Ephron, brought the “star-crossed” pen pals into the cyber age. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks play the lovers, the setting has jumped to New York City, and the shop is a local children’s bookstore. This film makes the timeless story exceedingly relevant in our age of internet dating and social media anonymity.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Thu. Sep. 7

by Joseph Kesselring

Rated PG
Main Stage
One 15-minute Intermission

Meet the Brewsters: spinster sisters, Abby and Martha, dedicated to charity, family, and poisoning lonely, old men with their homemade arsenic-laced elderberry wine. And who can forget their loving nephews? Teddy, who thinks he’s Theodore Roosevelt, Jonathan (a Boris Karloff look-alike psychopath), and Mortimer, a likable drama critic who navigates his homicidal family, his fiancée, and the Brooklyn PD. Christy Brandt and Annie Butler star in this classic, smash-hit dark comedy that the New York Times called “so funny that none of us will ever forget it.”


CREATIVE TEAM

Director
Scenic Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Asst. Director
Stage Manager
Asst. Stage Manager
Karloff Make-up Design
Justin Lucero
Heidi Hoffer
Kate Mott
Jacob Welch
Jake K. Harbour
Zoe Ruth
Devon Muko*
Lucas Bareis-Golumb
Rick D. Wasserman

 

CAST

Abby Brewster
Martha Brewster
Rev. Dr. Harper
Witherspoon
Teddy Brewster
Officer Brophy
Officer Klein
Elaine Harper
Mortimer Brewster
Mr. Gibbs
Lieutenant Rooney
Jonathan Brewster
Dr. Einstein
Officer O’Hara
U/S Elaine
U/S Cops
U/S Jonathan/Teddy
U/S Mortimer
Christy Brandt*
Anne F. Butler
Stuart Rider*

 

Stuart Rider*
Logan Ernstthal*
Claudio Venancio
Josh Zwick

 

Emily Van Fleet*
Donovan Woods*
Brian Kusic

 

Brian Kusic
John DiAntonio*
Rick D. Wasserman*
Spencer D. Christensen
Bettina Lobo
CJ Salvani
Pat Moran
Josh Zwick

 


Arsenic and Old Lace is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
Original Broadway production by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


DIRECTOR’S NOTE

For a play that has so much to admire and treasure, it is truly saying something that the greatest legacy of Joseph Kesselring’s 1941 Arsenic and Old Lace is its staying power. In fact, this marks the third production of Arsenic in CRT’s history! As a director, the “stalwart” status of this cherished chestnut of the American theater elicits multiple strong feelings simultaneously: I remember reading the script and finding it equal parts intimidating, exciting, and… stale. And that’s when it dawned on me­-mounting the third version of this play at CRT is an invitation, nay, a mandate to look at it anew. My collaborators were across-the-board as invigorated as I to really analyze what the play has been, is, and can be.

Kesselring created a Brewster clan of two merry murdering matrons, a Theodore Roosevelt-impersonator, a Boris Karloff look-alike, and a theatre reviewer… a motley crew that can’t get any wackier! These monster personalities indicate quite clearly that Kesselring intended for performers and directors to explore where farcical comedy and period horror overlap. When I really dug deep (pun intended!), it became more and more evident that the tactics used in creating suspense are often the same for making people laugh. This is the lens through which we approached every aspect of our set, costumes, lighting and performances.

After plowing through every page and every word, I realized one needn’t look any further than the title. There should be plenty of “arsenic” and plenty of “lace.” In what is seen and heard, we wanted the dark and the fluffy to collide. Thematically, too, wrapped within a farcical romp is comment after comment, jab after jab of social and cultural issues that still ring true over 75 years later. Early in the play when one Brewster sister explains how she approaches her famous quince jam recipe, we find the best explanation of just what kind of balance Kesselring endeavored to find in his play: “We always put a little apple in with it to take the tartness out.” I hope our recipe is just as appetizing and… well, killer!

Justin Lucero


SOME THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW
ABOUT THIS AMERICAN CLASSIC

1.) Many critics believe that Joseph Kesselring intended the Brewster house as a metaphor for the dark side of American history. Mortimer’s attempts to balance his love for his Aunts with his family’s murderous history is a metaphor for every American’s struggle with the contradictions of American myth and our often violent history.

2.) Although Boris Karloff, an icon of horror films, originated the role of Jonathan on Broadway, he did not appear in Frank Capra’s movie version. His cast mates Josephine Hull and Jean Adair (the Aunts), along with John Alexander (Teddy) did. The producers insisted that Karloff remain with the show on Broadway because his star power was a box office draw. Karloff was replaced with Raymond Massey, most famous for playing Abraham Lincoln, in an inspired bit of casting.

3.) The first version of this play was called Bodies in Our Cellar and was a melodrama/horror play. Kesselring mailed it to actor Dorothy Lindsay, thinking she might be good for one of the two murderous aunts. Her husband, playwright and Broadway producer Howard Lindsay heard her laughing riotously while reading the script. He read it and concurred: it would make a fabulous farce if they pushed it farther in that direction. Howard Lindsay and producing partner Russel
Crouse (best known as the team behind The Sound of Music) can take a lot of credit for turning the play into the hit comedy Arsenic and Old Lace.

4.) The “murderous old lady” plot line may have been inspired by actual murders that occurred in Windsor, Connecticut in the early 20th century. Amy Archer-Gilligan, ran a home for the elderly, promising her boarders full care until they died. After paying their $1,000 fee for lifetime care, their lives proved remarkably short. She is estimated to have killed over 40 people with Arsenic and other poisons.

5.) The play ends a bit differently from Capra’s popular 1944 film, though it was originally intended to be the same. According to Turner Classic Movies’ notes on the film, “a scene at the end of the story, in which Mr. Witherspoon, played by Edward Everett Horton, becomes the aunts’ last victim, was shot and included in preview prints of the film. Because of poor audience reaction to the screen demise of the popular character actor, however, the scene was removed from release prints.”

The Syringa Tree

Wed. Sep. 6

by Pamela Gien

Rated PG-13
Ruth Theatre
One 15 minute intermission

This moving and powerful story of an enduring love between two families-one black, one white-is told through the eyes of a six-year-old girl. Winner of the 2001 Obie Award for Best Play, The Syringa Tree chronicles two families straining against the chains of apartheid. Will love conquer fear? Two versatile actresses bring twenty-four characters to life, transporting us to South Africa from 1963 through the present. Join us for this moving tale beautifully brought to life by CRT.


CREATIVE TEAM

Director
Scenic/Lighting Design
Costume Design
Sound Design
Dialect Coach
Trapeze Choreographer
Dance Choreographer
Stage Manager
Dance Captain
Asst. Stage Manager
Tosin Morohunfola
Matthew Schlief
Asa Benally
Becca Pearce
Rebecca Bossen
John DiAntonio
Bethany Eilean Talley
Aaron McEachran
Nia Sciarretta*
Lucas Bareis-Golumb

 

CAST

Elizabeth and others
Salamina and others
Caitlin Wise*
Portland Thomas*

 


The Syringa Tree is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

First produced at A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle, Gordon Edelstein, Artistic Director.
Original New York stage production presented by Matt Salinger.

Use of the music and lyrics of “Ballad of the Southern Suburbs” a.k.a. “Ag Pleez Deddy” (Copyright © 1962, Jeremy Taylor) courtesy of Jeremy Taylor and Gallo (Africa) Ltd.

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


DIRECTOR’S NOTE

Think back to January 27th, 2017.

Newly elected President Donald Trump has just signed an executive order that “indefinitely suspends the admissions for Syrian refugees and limits the flow of other refugees into the United States.”

In the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism,” this executive order became known as a “muslim ban,” disallowing immigrants and “questionable Americans” from entering the United States. It was a blanket ban against refugees and any national from seven muslim-majority countries.

And as you probably recall, it was met with very mixed reactions.

To some, it proved a necessary precaution in assuring the safety of American citizens. To others, it was an unsettling realization of one’s insecurity within this nation. What once felt safe, ceased to. After all, it tore some families apart, an ocean’s-worth of distance between them. And it sparked mass protests across the nation.

Offhandedly, President Trump himself commented, “We don’t want them here” as he signed the bills, which is not a new thing to hear for some of us.

It makes me think of this admonishment from South African President P.W. Botha in 1964, “If the principle of permanent residence for the Black man in the area of the White is accepted, then it is the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it in this country.” Whoa.

The freedom to exist-to live, to love and to be-in America is what is being dishonored with Trump’s words.

One of the most crucial societal liberties is the freedom to choose where you want to live; an ability to migrate and habitate and call your country home. To weave your thread of experience into the tapestry of American life. And in an age where that freedom to exist is being threatened more and more-and by countries we once thought of as sanctuaries-it has become of utmost importance to preach the message of inclusion through stories that shed light on our mistakes.

There are many ways in which The Syringa Tree mirrors our nation, but the most pressing way, to me, has been in the reflection of our cultural landscapes; the lurking undercurrent of exclusion and white superiority in America; the examination of what type of person gets to exist in public spaces; and the battle over where one is allowed to live.

It’s an honor to get to bring such a diverse show to Creede Rep. A story set in South Africa during Apartheid that discusses race, distance, colorism, boundaries, access and migration is a unique opportunity for Creede audiences.

But this play is more than an immersion experience about how privilege and trauma affect our young. It’s about how two young women bond and survive through that gauntlet of obstacles. Seeing these resilient women age over decades and maintain their deep connection, even across seas, to me, that sounded like a powerful human story. Their everlasting love that goes deeper than blood. That miraculous love that crosses seas and reunites families.

Tosin Morohunfola


Apartheid, which means “Separateness” in the Afrikaans language, was a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa between 1948 and 1991. The roots of apartheid in South Africa stretch back almost as far as the beginning of European colonization.


A TIMELINE OF APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA

1949 – The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act and the Immorality Act prohibit interracial marriage and sexual relations.
1950 – Population Registration Act classifies all South Africans into one of four racial groups based on appearance, ancestry, socioeconomic status, and cultural lifestyle: “black,” “white,” “coloured” (mixed descent), and “Indian.”
1951 – Bantu Authorities Act assigns each African to an independent state based on the person’s record of origin called a homeland. They are no longer able to vote and lose their citizenship in South Africa.
1951 – Non-whites are required to carry identity papers with them at all times. Those employed in “white areas” have to register and carry a pass giving them permission to remain in those areas overnight.
1952 – The African National Congress joins other anti-apartheid organizations in a Defiance Campaign, wherein participants use passive resistance to violate oppressive laws.
1952 – Nelson Mandela opens South Africa’s first black law firm, which offers free or low-cost legal counsel to those affected by apartheid legislation.
1953 – The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act prohibits people of different races from using the same drinking fountains, restrooms, buses, schools, hospitals, and beaches.
1953 – The Bantu Education Act segregates the races in all levels of education, makes it illegal for black workers to strike.
1953 – The Public Safety Act allows the government to inflict severe penalties, imprisonment, and beatings to those who protest against the law.
1956 – Mandela and 155 other members of the multi-racial Congress Alliance are arrested and charged with treason. All are acquitted after a lengthy trial. The prolonged periods in detention strengthen and solidify their relationship.
1960 – The Sharpeville Massacre. A large group of black protestors refuse to carry their mandatory passes. The government declares a state of emergency lasting for 156 days. In the end 69 people die and 187 are wounded.
1963 – Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisilu, and seven other leaders of the African National Congress are tried for acts of sabotage. Eight are convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment at Robben Island.
1976 – The government decrees that all schools must teach in the white language, Afrikaans. Police fire at unarmed black protesters in the city of Soweto, which leads to riots and more fatalities.
1983 – The United Democratic Front is formed to fight against apartheid.
1990 – Nelson Mandela is finally released after 27 years in prison.
1992 – After months of negotiating and violence, a draft constitution is published, guaranteeing freedom of speech and religion, access to adequate housing and social benefits and outlawing all discrimination.
1994 – The first truly democratic election is held. The ANC wins 62.7% of the popular vote and Nelson Mandela becomes the first non-white leader of South Africa.