Icarus's Mother correspondence
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 14:43:55 +0400
From: Gary Grant <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Working with Sam
Thanks for keeping in touch with me concerning Signature's first production. I am very happy to say that I will attend the production at the 3 PM matinee on Sunday, Nov. 10. With all of your insight into the production process, I will have a special appreciation of the work.
I will look for you in the theatre after the performance. I would like to place a face with the email words. Also, I will call the business office to try to secure a press packet for the website. If I don't reach anyone, would you please try to see that a packet is available for me on Sunday. I am pleased with the first phase of the Signature Theatre subpage. Now that we have something online, we can work with graphics to make the subpage more interesting. If you don't mind, I would also like to include quotes from our correspondance since I think that you have offered a unique view of the rehearsal process with Shepard and Chaikin.
Thanks for asking about Icarus' Mother. I was pleased with the work. A Bucknell alum, John Uffleman, MFA from SMU, came on campus to play the role of Frank and he tore up the final monologue. Jon's a Shakespearean specialist and I wanted to see how we could work together on the rhetoric and rhythm of the monologue. Two senior theatre majors, Liz Maccie and Shannon Kearns played Pat and Jill and they found an edgy and quirky psychology for the characters. We rehearsed to lots of jazz, especially Mingus, and tried to keep the jazz rhythms going along with the naturalism. This concept gave an unusual rapidly shifting tempo to the piece. I also gained a special appreciation for Shepard's innate sense of formalism. Icaurs' Mother works on an escalating sense of violence as a whole but each scene and each moment in the monologues is structured in a kind of competition with itself. The characters try to "top" one another in their descriptions of their fears of the impending apocalypse and each moment in the monologues tops the previous moment in intensity of feeling and often in very classical rhetorical devices.
I also discovered (in rehearsal and performance mind you, not at all in the reading) how Shepard uses cubist devises to create a feeling of simultaneity to the whole. Each scene and especially the monologues associates with the crash of the plane which does not actually happen until the last moment of the play. There's a feeling not so much of a narrative but of a moment frozen in time and looked at from various perspectives at the same time, ie., cubist.
Thematically, once again, I see Shepard's critique of the 60's generation who, in the face of an undefined menace, an apocalyptic moment, losses their awareness of what is happening and meanders into self consciousness in the most limited sense of the phrase. Since Chicago and Icarus' were written about the same time, I'm curious to experience both plays in performance in a short period of time.
Sorry to be so long winded about all of this. I look at the website as a chance to exchange ideas on Shepard's work and other interesting topics.
Again, best wishes and I hope to meet you on Sunday.
Gary Grant (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Department of Theatre and Dance.
Lewisburg, PA 17837
Phone: (717) 524-1235, Fax: (717) 524- 3760
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