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