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Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the tag “King Lear”

Gerda Stevenson

Gerda Stevenson, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenActor/writer/director/singer-songwriter
Scotland

I look for inspiration all around me, in my own and others’ experience, in the work of fellow artists, and in research.

I have many favourite books – Germinal by Emile Zola, Sunset Song, by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, and I love the poetry of Sharon Olds.

Ran – Kurosawa’s version of King Lear – is a superb film, and I admire Pather Panchali by the great Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray.

I love the line: “If music be the food of love, play on…’ from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. For me, music is indeed this – I come from a family of musicians – my father is the composer/pianist Ronald Stevenson, my sister the harpist/composer Savourna Stevenson, my niece the fiddler/composer Anna-Wendy Stevenson. And my brother Gordon is a violin maker. My son, Rob MacNeacail, plays bass guitar, bagpipes and piano, and right now, my favourite bit of pop culture is his band, Miasma, with their debut album, Feathered Feet – it’s memorably melodic, has great harmonies, and intelligent lyrics.

My guilty pleasure would be Crannachan – a delicious Scottish dessert – whipped cream, whisky, heather honey, and fresh raspberries, with toasted oatmeal. It goes down well with a glass of champagne!

Two plays that made a huge impression on me when I was young were The Trojan Women, directed by the Romanian, Andrei Serban (La MaMa theater company), and The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black, Black Oil, by Scotland’s 7:84 Theatre Company. The former was a passionate expression of pacifism (like Kurosawa’s Ran), and the 7:84 production was a powerful piece of political theatre, about the exploitation of the Scottish people and their land by successive British governments.

My best escape is to go walking in the Scottish Highlands – by mountains and loch-sides, wild and remote places of my homeland, with my friend Jenny. We’ve known each other since we were born. We take our dogs with us, carry our tent, basic food for a few days, collect firewood on the way, choose where to pitch our tent each evening, and light our camp fire. There’s no one around for miles, no cell phone reception, and it’s paradise.

Gerda Stevenson: Twice nominated for Critics Awards Theatre in Scotland, BAFTA Best Film Actress Award. Nominated LPTW’s Guilder/Coigney Award. Original plays, and dramatisations of classic Scottish novels for BBC Radio. Stage play, Federer Versus Murray, shortlisted London Fringe Theatre Writing Award, 2010, runner-up Best Scottish Contribution to Drama on Edinburgh Fringe, 2011.

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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

Orietta Crispino

Orietta Crispino, member of the League of Professional Theatre Women.Director, Performer, Artistic Director
New York, New York USA

* Where do you look for inspiration?  Mostly life, dreams and books.

* What’s your favorite book / movie / line from a play / pop culture guilty pleasure / cocktail?  Barry Lyndon, any Cronenberg. I am not a cocktail kind of gal, but lately I have been enjoying Margaritas!!!

* What play or production changed your life? Einstein on the beach (Bob Wilson), Café Muller (Pina Bausch), La Vita che ti diedi (Pirandello/Castri), Kinkan Shonen (Sankai Juku).

* Is there anything you still dream of doing?  Playing the cello. King Lear (playing the king!).

* What’s the one thing nobody knows about you? I can fall asleep stroking my ears.

Orietta Crispino born in Italy, is a graduate of the prestigious “Piccolo Teatro” School in Milan, where she worked with the major Italian directors Strehler and Castri. She taught acting and directing there. She is co-founder and artistic director of Theaterlab in NYC. Her most recent production is Three Sisters Come and Go.

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