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To Write Site Specific Theatre

I was fortunate to have my script chosen by Onsite Theatre to be their most recent site specific presentation. And I enjoyed the opportunity/the writing/the challenges, but also seeing the script come to such vibrant life.
I was very fortunate having the cast and crew OnSite put together to mount this show. Anna Pileggi directed, so I immediately had faith the script was going to receive a very thoughtful, first-rate production. And, even at first blush, the cast was just as promising –Margeau Steinau, Andrew Neiman and Sarah Cannon.
The boundaries of the time and the space (and more) of the production - (set in Craft Alliance Gallery, their new Grand Avenue location near the Fox; playing within an exhibit, Locusts and Honey by Jennifer Angus, of hundreds of bugs pinned to walls; three actors; playing time less than an hour; employing both levels of Craft Alliance and featuring their windows looking out on Grand – were good for a writer like me. Give me a deadline and a handful of mandatories and I can take off.
I used what I had to work with – bugs and art figure heavily in the script – and somehow the incidence of people led to a kind of soap opera-ish romantic sublot. Someone asked me why I wrote a play about “loneliness.” I think I wrote a play about love at first sight.
I did consciously try to write very site specific. In OnSite’s other productions, you did bowl and you did have disposable cameras, but your were basically flies on the wall, an audience watching characters in a play.
I wanted my approach to include the audience in the same role as the actors – as random folks visiting a gallery, seeing and sometimes interacting with other gallery visitors.
What I’m not sure I was writing was a comedy, but I think it played that way; not a broad piece, but laughter based in the very human characters our cast created. Anna staged the script beautifully within the ever challenging site-specific genre, and I thought the cast really shone. I’m not sure the script was big or bold enough to call what the actors did “stretches,” but I thought Margeau, Andy and Sarah were doing things I hadn’t seen them do before, and it was interesting to see the tension and dynamic this built. They were uniformly excellent, and skilled at playing to and guiding a floating audience.
I think a splendid time was had by most.

For more information on OnSite, visit onsitetheatre.org.
For more information on Craft Alliance Gallery, visit craftalliance.org.

 


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Revised: October, 2007
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