Tauris, an adaptation of Euripides' Iphegenia at Tauris, is a new full-length play on environmental themes. An epic adventure with music, Tauris engages its audience in questions both personal and social: cultural attitudes toward environmental change, the complicated relationship between personal drive and public usefulness and the conflict between ideology and love.
Our project is to produce a staged reading of Tauris for the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble's First Stories Festival at the Wild Project March 16th and 17th. This will be the first staged reading of the finished, full-length play. This is an opportunity to explore the story and theatrical potential of the play toward a revision and full production.
History of the play
Tauris began as an experiment. How do you tackle social issues in a way that's meaningful, but also interesting and truly theatrical? In fall of 2010, I heard an interview with Outside the Wire's Bryan Doerries and Phyllis Kaufman on their work using classical theatre texts to address public health and social issues and was struck by their approach. For a while, I had been working on theatre that addressed environmental concerns, specifically mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, but was not satisfied with the dramatic realism and historic retelling I was relying on to tell the story. I decided to propose a paper examining the potential of Greek drama to address the social and personal aspects of the issue for the Staging Sustainability Conference at York University the following spring. For my research, I chose two plays, Iphegenia at Tauris by Euripides and Ajax by Sophocles. While both were inspiring and brought up parallels for addressing environmental issues, it was Iphegenia at Tauris that lept to life. I decided to write a full adaptation.
The first presentation of a draft of the script was a staged reading of ACT I in Feb. of 2011 at Cape Cod Community College. I workshopped the play that summer with a group of actors in Cape Cod and presented a preview excerpt at Boston Greenfest. In May 2012, I took the script to Indy Convergence, a performing arts incubator in Indianapolis where we workshopped the script and presented a 15-minute excerpt with lights, sound and music. In fall of 2012, I finished the full-length script and held a closed reading with a group of actors, including James McBride, in NYC. Following their comments, I revised the script and submitted it to the First Stories Festival. And here we are!
SARAH MOON - NYC Playwriting credits: BLUE GROUND (SoHo Think Tank 6th Floor), CURRENT CHANGES IN EMPIRE (Dixon Place), BOB DYLAN IN THE BATHROOM (Gallery Players). Boston: TURTLES (Boston Actors Theatre), LOSING THE GAME (Brandeis University), I FELL ASLEEP IN THE PRESIDIO (Center for New Words), Washington D.C.: BLUFF STREET (Essential Theatre Company), THIN RED LINE (D.C. Fringe Fest). Awards include Harold and Mimi Steinberg Award for Best Original Play and Sustainable Practices Recognition Award from Cape Cod Community College. Sarah’s essay “Outside the Frame: Art as Channel for Direct Experience Toward Sustainable Transition” recently appeared in Issue 9 of the Center for Sustainable Practices in the Arts Quarterly. Sarah holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Puget Sound and an MFA in Playwriting from Brandeis University.
JAMES WILL MCBRIDE is currently the artistic apprentice at Hartford Stage. He graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Theatre Business from Loyola University New Orleans in the spring of 2012. While at Loyola, he was the recipient of the 2012 Ignation Award for Outstanding Senior Man and the Leo Zinser Drama Award. This past summer, he was the Directing Candidate in The American Theatre Wing’s SpringboardNYC program. In the summer of 2011, James was a member of The Alley Theatre’s Professional Training Program, interning in the Development Office. James is a co-creator and curator of Re: Plays Blog. For more, visit JamesWillMcBride.com.
ERIN LAYTON - NYC theatre credits: MAGDALEN (New York City International Fringe Festival 2012); two-person adaptation of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (Off-Broadway, Off-Broadway Alliance Nominee), LET US GO THEN, YOU AND I (Undergroundzero Theatre Festival), WEIRD SISTERS (East Third Ensemble), PITCH (East Coast Artists, LaMaMa), DARGER (Stage Left Studios), PEARL MERCHANT (Threads Theatre Company), among others. Regional credits include CANDLES TO THE SUN (Actors Theatre of Louisville), SALTWATER (International Theatre Collective), HECUBA, THE RIVALS (St. Louis Shakespeare Company); Erin’s one woman play, MAGDALEN is published by Indie Theater Now in their Best of Fringe 2012 and Plays By Women Collection.http://magdalentheplay.wordpress.com/
Where Your Money Goes:
$650 -- producing fee to Phoenix Theatre Ensemble
$250 -- Rehearsal space rental
$500 -- Stipends for actors, stage manager and music director
$300 -- Travel costs (train) for playwright and director (Hartford-based)
$200 -- Publicity/Printing
$500 -- Food
$100 -- Props/Costumes
Risks and challenges
There are always risks associated with unpredictable events and issues. During Hurricane Sandy and the recent historic snowstorm, I kept wondering about performances that had to be canceled. When there are a lot of people involved, it's not easy to re-schedule. But if a weather event did cause us to cancel all of the readings, we would immediately look for a time to re-schedule, either through the First Stories Festival or independently. If the issue were with a person who suddenly became unavailable, we would seek to quickly replace that person. The upside of a staged reading is that it's not supposed to be perfect, so there's a little more allowance for last-minute changes. The show will go on!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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