Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Name: Megan Pecot
Class of: 2018
What is the experience like to direct the first production of a new play?
It is very exciting to be able to work on a new play. This is not only the first production of Never Have I Ever, but my first time directing! I’ve learned so much already. Since this is a new play, we are completely on our own to create the world of the play. The actors are discovering their characters within the new script and it’s been amazing to see them bring the characters to life on stage for the first time. It feels much more personal, since there is no reference to look back to. On top of that, all of the technical designers are having the chance to create the first designs for the play – costumes, set, lights, and sound. I am so grateful I’ve been given the chance to guide and shape this production for the first time.
What is the value of being in contact with the playwright, Jan Rosenberg, during the process?
It’s extremely valuable to be able to talk with Jan Rosenberg. I had the experience of meeting her in NYC to help in the development of the play with The Farm Theater. That gave me a lot of insight into the world of the play. Since then, as we started the process of putting on the show at Birmingham-Southern College, I’ve contacted her with my own questions about characters, as well as questions from the actors. The whole process has been very collaborative and has helped me be more confident in my directing. It’s nice to know she is just an email away. I can’t wait for her to see it – I’m very proud of the work the company has been doing.
What has been useful in the process to connect your ensemble to the theme of the play, the issues addressed, as well as the personality of the play?
I think the most useful thing has been bringing in eating disorder councilors and specialists to talk to the company. It really gives everyone more insight into the issues of addictive behavior, specifically eating disorders. Once the actors have the concrete research, they can integrate that better into the stories of their characters. The cast and I did a lot of discussion early on in our process – I asked them all to bring in “biographies” and we discussed them as a group. This was useful – as it allowed them to flesh out their own relationships with the other characters as well as connect to their own. They also know they have access to councilors on campus. They understand how serious the issues addressed in the play are – but they have become such a strong ensemble and they play off each other for the funny moments as well.
As a director, and as you shape the telling of the story – what is the experience you hope the audience has with the play?
I hope that it really opens the audience members eyes to the scale of the issues addressed. It’s not just Anorexia and Bulimia that are addressed in the play – but many unhealthy addictive behaviors. It’s important to be aware of them. The media is awful in portraying many of these behaviors as “healthy”, when they are not. Additionally, I hope the play expands people’s knowledge of eating disorders and gives way for discussions about them. This is not a dancer’s disease – eating disorders can affect anyone. I think it’s extremely important for the audience to learn that truth – and I hope this show leads them to it. I believe that theatre is one of the best ways to bring up these topics. Jan Rosenberg has created an incredible script and I hope we can expand people’s knowledge on these topics and have honest conversations by sharing this play.
This interview first appeared on The Farm Theater blog: https://thefarmreport.blog/
Posted by Blog Admin at 10:14 AM
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Yesterday, the props crew took a little excursion out of Birmingham-Southern. Will Vogel is the head of props crew and his team consists of: Rachel McKelvy, Cosette Bolt, Rose Simpson, and Annie Norris. We were on the hunt for two things! Lavender candles and a scale. Lavender candles are much harder to find than one might expect. We looked at the Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Walmart and there wasn't a lavender candle in sight. However, we did find the scale. The team broke up. Will, Cosette, and Rachel went looking for the scale, and Rose and Annie were scavenging through lavender candles in hope they might find two. Right across from the candle aisle, there was a shelf of GIANT, life-sized stuffed animals. Naturally, Rose and Annie were drawn to these and began to look through them. Will, Cosette, and Rachel came back with the scale and Rose and Annie informed them there were no lavender candles, so they checked out with the scale and left. 20 minutes later. The gang was just about to turn back into school when Rose exclaimed, "I left my backpack at Walmart!!!" Everyone groaned and asked if she was sure, and Rose was definitely sure. We turned around and everyone ran into Walmart frantically. Low and behold, the backpack was right where Rose had left it. The giant, life-sized stuffed animal shelf. Everyone burst out in laughter, and thankfully, nothing was taken from Rose's backpack. It was definitely an interesting afternoon, but we got what we needed! Everything but the lavender candles.
Friday, January 5, 2018
Yesterday, the cast and crew of "Never Have I Ever" had the opportunity to sit down with eating disorder and addiction specialist, Leslie Plaia. With all of the hustle and bustle of getting the show ready, it can be easy to forget the powerful content of the play. By meeting with Leslie, the cast was able to find deeper connection with their characters, as well as learn some things about themselves. It was not required for the crew to attend, yet every crew member was there. It was truly something no one wanted to miss out on. As college students, almost everyone could relate to at least one of the topics she was explaining, and it was interesting to see which ones they were. Long story short, meeting with Plaia was something necessary for everyone in the production. It reminded us that we have the ability to put on a powerful, passionate show that displays the issue of eating disorders and shed light on an issue that is generally swept under the rug.