Nine days ago, first-time director Becky Stapf’s laptop crashed with all of her files for the upcoming Monroe County Civic Theater show. Somehow lost in the repair shop’s schedule, the laptop took a several-day nap on the shelf unnoticed. Next came three days of rehearsals while Stapf tried to recover her notes.
Ah, the life of a director. “A bit like the dog ate my homework,” she described the fiasco in an email. She remains intrepid, however, as she solidifies her vision of MCCT’s “The Importance of Being Seriously In A Pandemic,” a Don Zolidis play that opens on April 10th at Zoom. The version by MCCT is a farce of the original “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde.
As an actress, Stapf has taken on the direction and enjoys seeing her idea in its entirety. She is a person who usually looks at the big picture of life and she sees directing as sculpting.
“Whatever material you work with, be it wood, stone, clay or writing, as a sculptor you need high-quality tools – the actors – to shape and shape your vision.”
She cast all the players who were aware of their strengths because they had previously worked with them.
“When I first read this script, I was already thinking about who to play in which role.”
Stapf, who shares the limelight, credits her acting teacher Martie Cowen McMane for igniting the embers that smolder in the dramatic hearts of her classmates.
“Our improvisation troop was exceptional,” said Stapf. Decades later, she repeated those efforts by staging radio theater with WFHB Firehouse Follies, performing plays with the Monroe County Civic Theater, and attending workshops such as the National Audio Theater Festival, Cardinal Stage, and the Bloomington Academy of Film and Theater Studios.
She’s pretty sure she pissed off all of her teachers and principals with her insatiable curiosity.
“Now the roles are reversed.”
That is why she tries to include all actors and crew members in her direction and to welcome all contributions.
“It’s really fascinating to see the actors develop their characters and make them their own. It creates a whole new life for the piece. “
Since Zolidis’ “The Importance of Being Serious in a Pandemic” is based on Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Serious”, Stapf shows that there is always a different point of view. “You can draw the same lines and make the result completely different.”
Zolidis’ game follows exactly that of Wilde, adding current 2021 elements related to home sequestration during a pandemic and the use of Zoom.
“As I read the script, I saw and heard more and more jokes and innuendos, more gags,” said Stapf. “The players, the costumes, the props, the backgrounds kept coming back to my mind.”
Always the idea person in the room, she couldn’t help herself. She blamed management and saw what happened.
The Foys newest piece, ‘The Z Team’
Jacob Foy of Indiana University and his father Jeff Foy created their third play, this time a broad comedy, “The Z Team”. It recently premiered live at an online festival, and the Foys worked with a New York cast and acclaimed Broadway associate director Jeff Whiting.
The Foys’ excellent “Emergency” was one of my favorite pieces of 2018. Hilarious, sensitive, clever, witty and poignant is hardly enough to describe their musical about life in a hospital emergency room. They say write the story you know and Jeff, a doctor, knows an emergency room.
The plot of “The Z Team” is intriguing, if not a bit like “The Producers,” Mel Brooks’ American satirical film from 1967 in which a theater producer and his accountant decide to make the worst stage musical possible. Through fleeting humor, the pieces tell of the largest advertising company in the Midwest, which is now wavering. It is trying to regain its popularity. So, with reverse marketing, management puts together the least talented Z-Team instead of bringing together the top performers.
“Our theme is that we are better together than we are individually,” said Jeff Foy in an email. “Often our strengths can ultimately be our strengths.”
It could have been super fun, and it was partially rescued by Jade Genga as Olivia, one of the few actors who gave up “acting” and mugging and gave us believable emotions. She happens to be the talented daughter of Gerrianne Genga who charmed Bloomington in Cardinal Stages’ “Hairspray” in 2015. The apple stayed very close to the genga tree.
“I really like roles like Olivia,” Genga said in a text message. “Jeff and Jacob have a real talent for writing honest and natural characters. Her writing makes it so easy for us actors to immerse themselves in and live in the naturalistic comedy of their scripts. “
BPPs ‘Chopped’: Get Your Knives
One of the most creative businesspeople in Bloomington, or perhaps the country, is Chad Rabinovitz, the artistic director of the Bloomington Playwrights Project. He’s a triplet by birth and a marketing expert by nature.
In the recent past, he has encouraged local people to have fundraising dinner parties anchored by themes, games, and usually a personal visit from a BPP employee. This pandemic year got Rabinovitz to fire his imagination and create an event that is broader, simpler, cheaper and more creative: “Chopped: New Play Gourmet”, a recipe competition where the lips are licked and the chefs compete with each other.
More on that next week, but now start thinking, “What kinds of recipes can I create to get my item to appear on a Bloomington restaurant menu?”
Pick any day between April 16 and April 24 that you would like to cook. The cost to attend is a minimum of $ 25 per person.
Contact Connie Shakalis by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Shakalis”.