Thursday, June 5, 2014

Meet the Creatives: "Into the Woods"

If you have not heard, anything can happen in the woods. Magic, mischief and mayhem take over at PlayMakers during our 2014/15 Mainstage repertory shows, Into the Woods and A Midsummer Night's Dream. The first is the modern classic Into the Woods, from the mind of Stephen Sondheim. This whimsical tale weaves together classic fairy tales, with a twist, and garnered multiple Tony Awards.
Joe Haj

We have put together a fantastic creative team for our production of Into the Woods, to bring to life this fairytale world.

PlayMakers own Joe Haj will direct Into the Woods. Last season Joe co-directed both Metamorphoses and The Tempest, bringing these mythological and mystical tales to life for one of PlayMakers most memorable rotating repertory events ever. After all, who can forget the 4000 gallon pool built in the middle of the Paul Green Theatre! Joe will bring his considerable creative vision to Stephen Sondheim's beloved musical, and it’s sure to be an enchanting evening.

Marion Williams is returning to PlayMakers to bring some magic to the stage as the scenic designer for Into the Woods and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Marion is a longtime collaborator with PlayMakers. Her work was last here in 2013, when she brought to life the tantalizing world of The Kit Kat Klub for Cabaret. She has designed sets and costumes for a number of PlayMakers' past productions, and we are thrilled to have her back.

The costume designer for Into the Woods is Bill Brewer. This will be Bill's first time working with PlayMaker. Bill has designed for theatre, ballet, opera, film and television, both nationally and internationally. He is on the costume design faculty of the University of North Carolina School for the Arts. In addition to his numerous theatre and ballet projects, he has designed numerous projects for PBS and worked as an assistant designer for Lucas Film.

Josh Epstein is the lighting designer for Into the Woods. We last saw Josh's lighting design at PlayMakers in the 2013 production Cabaret. Josh designs lighting for theater, opera and dance as well as environmental and event spaces. Josh will be doing the lighting design for both of our rep shows this season, and we are looking forward to seeing his take on these productions.

If you are looking for the choreographer behind the fantastic cake walks of Assassins or the raucous dance numbers from Cabaret, then Casey Sams is your woman. She will be choreographing Into the Woods. Casey Sams is a resident artist at the Clarence Brown Theater, where she works as a director and choreographer. She is also head of undergraduate studies and an associate professor of theatre at University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Rounding out our creative team is puppet designer Donovan Zimmerman. Donovan is the co-founder of Paperhand Puppet Intervention. He brings his creations to life using cardboard, corn starch, bamboo, old house paints, and other assorted odds and ends. We are excited to have him as part of our Into the Woods creative team.

Into the Woods and A Midsummer Night's Dream will be performed in repertory at PlayMakers November 1 through December 7. Subscriptions for the 2014/2015 Mainstage Season are on sale now and single tickets will be available in July.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rude Mechanicals visit PlayMakers

Rude Mechs' rehearsals. Photos by Zachary Meicher-Buzzi

For the past week, we've been playing host to one of the nation's leading devised theatre ensembles as part of the ongoing PlayMakers' residency program supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This is the first of two weeks the Rude Mechanicals, based in Austin, Texas, are spending at PlayMakers to develop a new, environmental theatre piece they're calling Now Now Oh Now.

Originally conceived in 2012, Now Now Oh Now immerses participants in an interactive puzzle reflecting on the challenges of navigating a world driven by competition, pleasure and random events. Inspired by evolutionary biology, the Bront√ęs and LARP, Now Now Oh Now embodies the Rude Mechs' desire to create a tangible, social, active and personal experience for the audience.

During their two weeks in residence, the Mechs will work with PlayMakers production and administrative staff as well as a game designer and ornithologist to further develop the show before touring it to locations around the country.

Here are some more pictures of the Rude Mechs' in rehearsals, enjoy!