I love new plays, both as an actor and an audience member. The freshness of a text in the actors’ mouths carries a special electricity that is specific only to a work that has never been done before. This weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing Company One’s production of Splendor by Kirsten Greenidge, directed by Shawn LaCount.
Centered around many Thanksgiving Days in one New England town, the play explored the intricate relationships of the town’s inhabitants. The program even featured a family tree to help the audience make sense of the ensemble cast. One of the most interesting challenges for the actors (one I thought they handled excellently), was the play’s non-linear progression–in one scene, two characters were giddy eight-year-olds; in the next, their “present day” thirty-year-old selves.
We were able to attend a talkback with a few cast members and some of the designers. It was interesting to hear about the process of working on a new play from the artist’s perspective. One of the more convenient aspects was the opportunity to have the playwright present throughout the work. The actors shared insight about the evolutionary nature of the text–there were changes made up until opening week (including an additional 30 mins of content that did not make it into the final show).