Back from Ireland, and off on my next project...The Illusion by Tony Kushner for Evolution Theatre Company. What a treat this show is to work on...such a beautiful difficult text, an AMAZING cast, and an outstanding design team. SO EXCITED.
Here are a few of my thoughts from my Director's Concept for the show:
Corneille’s L'Illusion Comique is a masterpiece in theatre genre and style…one that refuses simple classification by playing upon nearly every available theatrical convention present upon the 17th Century French stage. His is a veritable “every-play”, and a case-study in meta-theatre. It is also DEEPLY French, and rooted solidly in the 17th Century in its style and form. These things are important to know…HOWEVER…we are not doing Corneille’s play. We are doing Tony Kushner’s “freely adapted” version of the classic…and so the rules are different.
Tony Kushner has given us a play that defies time, that refuses place, and that demands us to follow suit. He gives us a surprise ending that must shock even as it makes absolute sense. This version of the play is densely philosophical and eloquent, confounding and lyrical, beautiful and sinister. As ALCANDRE says of his illusions, Kushner’s are build through a violent synthesis. Kushner makes it very clear that, although his play claims to be set in 17th Century France, adherence to this idea is unnecessary. He does this by the incorporation of the characters of the first phantasma—Calisto, Melibea, Elicia, Pleribo—inspired by characters in the Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea, a 1499 Spanish Novel by Fernando de Rojas. By adding these characters to those written by Corneille, Kushner accomplishes several things all at once...and gives us a great deal of freedom.