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Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the tag “Brooklyn”

Anne Phelan

Anne Phelan, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenPlaywright/Dramaturg
Brooklyn, New York USA

What production changed my life?
When I was 6 or 7, my parents took me to see a touring company at John Carroll, the local Jesuit university. I’m not sure what theatre it was; probably not The Acting Company, maybe Catholic University still toured then. And sadly, no idea whom the director and designers were, either.

It was a production of King Lear set near the North Pole. I didn’t understand much of the story other than there was a king, and people argued with him. All the actors were in Inuit dress; I distinctly remember the mukluks, and a dog-less dogsled. The set was a series of flats shaped like eight-foot high gothic windows: the frames were black, and where the glass would normally be were pieces of parchment. The parchment and the scrim were lit with shifting colored lights, to look like the aurora borealis. I had seen the northern lights — when I lived in Cleveland, they were visible some nights in August. So to me, that stage looked incredibly familiar and mysterious at the same time. And I wanted to know how to get there.

Two-time Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellow, Anne Phelan has been a guest at The Juilliard School, Playwright-in-Residence at the William Inge Theatre Festival, and her plays have been produced throughout the U.S. Four of her plays are in Smith & Kraus’ “Best Ten-Minute Plays.” Member, The Dramatists Guild. www.annephelan.com

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Theresa Giacopasi

Theresa Giacopasi, League of Professional Theatre WomenPlaywright
Brooklyn, New York USA

In the fall of 2006, I saw Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus performed at Wilton’s Music Hall in London, directed by John Doyle and starring Matthew Kelly as Salieri. The space alone gave me chills. The oldest music hall left in the world, still largely unrenovated for lack of money; it only reopened in the 1990s. Exposed brick and plumbing, small, weirdly shaped rooms, peeling paint, gorgeous ceilings: I would go there again just to watch someone do laundry, it’s that exciting a space to be in.

The staging was absolutely magical and innovative and there was no weak member of the cast. Kelly was phenomenal — his facial expressions alone could have carried the play and scared you and made you cry. The lighting was so simple but so effective, using shadow and the small space to such great results. I still can’t describe it properly.

Later that year I read Shaffer’s notes at the front of the most recent edition of the play, and I was astounded by how many rewrites he had done of Amadeus during productions, after productions, over and over — and he still is eager to do more. It was the most reassuring thing I had ever read, that the writer of the play that had just blown my mind still considered it unfinished. It still is.

Theresa Giacopasi graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Dramatic Writing. Her plays have appeared in festivals produced by the Brown Couch Theatre Company, Universal Theatre, Emerging Artists Theatre, and the Union Hall Drama Club, among others. She works by day as a book publicist.

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