Remarks by Resident Dramaturg Kate Bredeson. Enjoy!
There’s something refreshing about Court Theatre’s approach to the preview process. At Court, there are not just a couple of previews, but a whole week of them: seven performances total. And every night, following the performance, there is a post-show discussion between audience and artistic staff (usually led by me and director Charlie Newell). The thing that’s really exciting is that not only does Court actively solicit the opinions of audience members, but that things drastically and entirely change within the course of previews, often based on those shared comments.
Last night, after Sunday evening’s performance of The Wild Duck and the subsequent production meeting, the artistic team convened to discuss the production. We talked about what was working, what wasn’t, what questions we have, what we love, what we don’t, and the last half hour of the conversation was devoted to a possible huge re-writing and re-staging of the final scene of the play. Richard Nelson, who wrote the new translation/adaptation of Ibsen’s play expressly for a début at the Court, spent the weekend with us to see the production and discuss the process, and suddenly in our meeting, he began discussing the tricky last scene, and pulled out his script and drew sweeping arrows, made slashes through dialogue, and scribbled new words in the margins. We don’t know yet if this will indeed become the final five minutes of the production, but Charlie is excited to try it and see what happens.
Today was our first day off in a week, and tomorrow (after the inauguration) we are back in the theatre at the MCA to explore new ideas, incarnations, and experiments. Characters are still evolving and growing, the set and lights and clothes continue to change. We still have questions, and, five days before opening, we still have time to explore—which is a good place to be.