As we approach our first endeavor into the online world with our presentation of Every Single Note this Friday, we thought we would celebrate community by looking back on our 2017 production of Middletown.
FROM JOSEPH WILLIAMS (DIRECTOR, JOHN DODGE)
Middletown is such a great show–strong characters, really funny but really sad, can be abstract, can be realistic or even literal… It’s one of those plays that when you read it you’ll see it play out in your head one way, and then when you re-read it the whole thing is different.
Directing it was no exception, and I was happy to have the pleasure of heading up our team.
Creating a path for this show was a lot of fun–you had scenes in a small town city park, and the next moment in outer space (no really–read the play).
I have always been a fan of abstract and surreal interpretation, so I decided to set the play physically in very well defined locations, however not necessarily guide our actors to anything I had preconceived. Part of the journey with this show, not only for the audience to view, was for the actors to create.
Some found it grueling and depressing, some found it uncommon to be allowed and encouraged to bring their own individual interpretations to their parts.
Much like the audience gleaning their own interpretations from the show, the actors had free reign to take their character wherever they felt they should–wherever they felt the character needed to have a voice.
To date, this has been one of the most collaborative experiences I have had with a cast as a director, and I cherished every moment of it. We created a surreal, dark, funny show that quite literally had the audience gasping–whether from laughing or from shock.
It was up to them to decide. Like life (especially nowadays), it has its ups and downs, laughs and cries, life and death. I think that, much like Middletown, life is up to us to decide where it goes.