Some issues of American Theatre are organized around a chosen theme, while others acquire a kind of throughline by virtue of related content. This isn’t that kind of issue. In keeping with the sense of possibility that a fresh new year engenders (and with a lighthearted nod to that unavoidable February rite known as Valentine’s Day), we’ve concocted what you might think of as a “variety is the spice of theatre” issue—coverage with a dash of something for everyone.
If you’re a romantic, line up to meet the five couples who talked candidly
with senior editor Eliza Bent about how their regularly entangled professional
lives affect their love relationships, and vice versa. If
you’re a rebel attracted to outside-the-box career narratives, check out the
convention-defying path to Chicago stage stardom forged by Molly Brennan,
the high-energy actor profiled by managing editor Suzy Evans.
If you’re an iconoclast about training methods or fidelity to the classics, you may want to share the radical journey that Cutting Ball director Paige Rogers and her eight-member Antigone cast took in preparation for the show’s opening this month in San Francisco. Their mind-bending, body-stretching excursion took them to an isolated forest retreat in rural Poland, and this reporter was along for the ride.
These wide-ranging feature pieces—and the complete text of Katori Hall’s critically acclaimed new play Our Lady of Kibeho, inspired by real-life events in the war-ravaged nation of Rwanda—anchor the issue, but there’s still more variety enlivening its subsequent pages. Two articles—a profile by Wendy Weisman of breakout playwright Nick Jones and an animated conversation between Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig and Christopher Chen about how their common Chinese heritage finds a voice in their dissimilar plays—provide glimpses into the workings of the playwright’s mind. The director’s perspective comes via Christopher Kompanek’s insightful encounter with Soho Rep of New York’s Sarah Benson, whose much-admired staging of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s An Octoroon is expected to garner fresh adulation when it reopens this month at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn. And, in keeping with the issue’s themelessness, the virtues of diversity get an explicit shout-out in Theresa May’s report on a high-payoff community engagement project at California’s South Coast Repertory.
So whether you’re an actor, a writer or a director, a romantic or a rebel, or just a theatre devotee curious about how the art form is faring as its standard-bearers march gamely into 2015, this issue aims to warm up your February with information and insight. Send a copy to your valentine.