(It's dramaturgy, not thaumaturgy.)
Main Entry: thau·ma·turg
Etymology: French, from New Latin thaumaturgus, from Greek thaumatourgos working miracles, from thaumat-, thauma miracle + ergon work — more at Theater, Work
The official blog of the Dramaturgy Department at Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE. For posts related to our current and upcoming shows, click the links to the right. Alternatively, you could begin at the beginning, and explore our posts in chronological order.
Speaking of the Lookingglass adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, currently (until Dec. 20th, 2009) playing in the Pearlstone Theater (which we were speaking of in a previous post you’ll have to go look at now), here are some phonography snaps from back in tech, about 10 days ago now. Intrepid crew members put together the intricate and exquisite set, based on everything from elaborate Victorian machinery, toys, cabinetry, and camp furniture (which you can read more about in this interview with adaptor/director, Laura Eason—or, watch the trailer with more of her comments, live). The production basically recreates the overall scenic design from the Chicago production, but because the stage configuration is so different, and the scale so much larger, the husband & wife team of set designers had to reconceive what started out as an “el”-shaped and somewhat rudimentary construction into a more presentationally proscenium-oriented set with more elaborate working parts and a more sophisticated feel. The steps in particular, which evoke anything from library ladders to ship’s stairs, were works of ingenious artifice. And the map seen in the latter images, representing Phileas Fogg’s global circumnavigation, now has a lovely lighted track tracing the progress of that journey around the world. Quite an effort.
NOT a Jumping Cardinal…
No, this is not on par with Kristi’s marvelous tale of Richelieu’s leaping competition with the Comte de Guiche, related in an earlier post (re. the upcoming Cyrano)—but for amusement if not some slight edification, here are some VERY candid shots from tech of Sedaris’ wickedly hystericaly Santaland Diaries—now playing—of Irene directing (there she sits, musing on lighting cues and blocking and a myriad of other concerns), and then wandering over to offer her two cents as TD Tom Rupp and Production Manager Mike Schleifer (not shown in these shots) gravely set about…playing with toy trains. Yes, there is a real live toy (probably the wrong word) train in this production. Kindly donated by a local enthusiast. Which makes for a nifty little overlap with our heavily rail-oriented production down in the Pearlstone: Around the World in 80 Days. See how neatly I tied all that together? Must be a prize for a Trifecta there….
What goes up…must come down. Sadly, the same holds true for the set for Earnest, including the wonderful letters; so, today, the theater lobby was strewn with the remnants of Jack and Algy’s decor, while on stage the tech crew took the saws to the 10-foot letters. Such is the ephemeral nature of theater. Soon, the space will transform into the mutable world of Phileas Fogg & Passepartout and their daring venture around the globe.
Behind the Scenes (and inside the bytes) for "Around the World in 80 Days"
Sigh. First it was Disney’s balloon (“not in the book” as they declaim in Eason’s deliciously self-aware and faithful adaptation); then it was the CGI-driven departure from Verne’s original chronicled in this interesting, fairly technical blog post. Variations on this liberty-seizing pattern (most of them wanting to get the story airborne) are by now a well-entrenched part of the tradition of this poor book, which nevertheless endures. When the program material for our production goes online, read Drew’s ruminations on the subject in his extended profile of the many sides of Verne himself; from the very first, his writing, and 80 Days in particular, have proven prone to each new generation inscribing its own “take.” -ghw
Phileas Fogg (Philip R. Smith) awakens and emerges in the original Lookingglass production of Around the World in 80 Days…. Just so, he and the rest of the lively characters so vividly brought to life in Laura Eason’s deft, timely adaptation are starting to stir and find new life upstairs in rehearsal. Part import and part new creation, the production had its first rehearsal earlier this week and already is going great guns, full steam ahead, in a race against time to get everything squared away and humming along in time for previews.
(Those who know the story know that Fogg’s hapless first valet here doesn’t stand much chance; his employment is about to come to an end when he brings Fogg tea a few degrees too cool. However, this does open the door, metaphorically speaking, for Passepartout to get hired.)
Roxane! [or, if you prefer, Roxanne]
Inspired by Kristi’s ineffably free-associative set of references and links around Wilde, Verne, Murakami, and more, here is my offering: in honor of the upcoming Cyrano (or rather, more directly, of his eternal beloved, Roxane). However, it’s also taken from Moulin Rouge, which is set in Paris, not only the site of Rostand’s romance but also (despite those dire and dreadful warnings posted elsewhere here on Thaumaturgy) the natural haunts of Monsieur Jules Verne—author of Around the World in 80 Days, currently rehearsing. So there.
Now enjoy, and feel free to dance along. We won’t tell.
Proto-cosmonaut CYRANO DE BERGERAC
This is just to fantabulous to resist. Here, straight from the official NASA website, is Cyrano as early practitioner of science-fiction and imaginative theorist of space travel. An aspect of his persona that Rostand made use of, delightfully, in his play—and which of course links our hero to the works of Jules Verne (and his many literary progeny), whose Around the World in 80 Days is much on our minds as we get ready for first rehearsal in about 10 days.
This is what NASA has to say about lunar travel ala Bergerac:
Less interested in the scientific fundamentals of rocketry, many writers of popular literature and science fiction discovered one of the most vital elements in the formula for space travel, a fertile imagination. Under the impression that the sun “draws up” dewdrops, Cyrano de Bergerac suggested fancifully that one might fly by trapping dew in bottles, strapping the bottles to oneself, and standing in sunlight.