Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God – Maev Beaty and Tony Nappo Part 3

Hail the Workshop!


Let’s talk a bit about what a delight it is to be able to workshop and go away for long stretches and digest. It is so beneficial not just for the actors but the whole creative team.


Hear Hear about this process!! Hail the workshop! Especially in this particular case.  But…Dramaturgy in Canada…there’s a whole other strand of chat…Singing the workshop blues: (the following should be sung out loud, while playing the following chords in the key of E: E7, A7, B7)…Oh I’ve seen a group of know-it-all actors throw out ‘feedback’ to float their own egos and make a playwright go cross-eyed (yes, I have been one of those actors). I’ve seen a well-meaning dramaturge steal an original voice and suck the life out of an eccentric play in order to ‘make it make sense.’ I’ve seen plays that were pretty well perfect on their second draft get hollowed out and tired by their ninth draft. Yes sir I’ve had the Workshoppin’ Blues.

HOWEVER – I’ve also seen a team of humble, respectful, enthusiastic artists come together, with an assured and judicious leader, and carefully and kindly set high standards and bring forth the kind of art that could only have been born in the name of Humanity. And boy oh boy it’s awe-inspiring.

I definitely feel that this is one of those processes. And I think the playwrights (well – the two I’ve had the fortune to be around!) have been so generous and disciplined and detailed – it’s exciting. I completely agree about the time to digest. And having Torge, Tom and Teresa (gracious – all those Ts!) jamming and dreaming right from the beginning has brought on some pretty amazing results – and yet now they can go riff on their own, taking a HUGE wealth of information and imagination with them, and everything could change! Cool. Have you worked with multimedia (I guess I mean video) before, in theatre? I haven’t much, and I confess, though I find it really intriguing – it freaks me out a bit…you?


No. The multimedia component is a new one to me. Although we have only touched on it so far, it feels like it is going to magnify the whole production. Or elevate it. No, magnify is the right word. It feels kind of Lepage-ian. And it is terrifying in some ways because it seems that it is going to demand so much more technical precision than I am used to. Not that one isn’t always precise but any deviations in this show will literally be magnified. The nature of the writing, as well, filled with repeats and freezes, which have been brilliantly employed by Roland will also demand similar technical precision. This is something, again, that we have been able to taste and feel already because of the workshops. And something Liesl and Torge and Tom have already been able to play with to get an idea of what may or may not work in terms of staging and underlining certain themes visually. A huge benefit of the workshop process. How rare that you spend a whole week workshopping on your feet.  During this last pass we, essentially (very clunkily but not poorly), staged the first twenty pages of the play which will likely change a lot but the freedom to try shit and not be stuck with it is a gift. And we will have another go at it in February before an eventual rehearsal process begins. Time to sift through the good and bad choices for the creative team as well as the actors just doesn’t happen enough. You usually are in tech and in previews (if you have them) before you know it and are locked into choices that didn’t quite work which you may or may not be able to tweak, at best, but not change entirely.

~ by volcanotheatre on March 3, 2010.

One Response to “Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God – Maev Beaty and Tony Nappo Part 3”

  1. Rock it Torono. Rock it.

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