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CTC Blog: Behind the Curtain

One Man, Two Names: Commedia dell’Arte Archetypes in One Man, Two Guvnors

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One Man, Two Guvnors, directed by Andrew Borba, is playing July 26-August 11 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

Richard Bean’s One Man, Two Guvnors reimagines Carlo Goldoni’s commedia dell’arte masterpiece, A Servant of Two Masters, setting the story in Britain in the 1960s. Though the characters in One Man, Two Guvnors have different names than their commedia counterparts, they serve a similar function within the story. Commedia characters were based on archetypes, making them recognizable to audiences from show to show. Below is a selection of One Man, Two Guvnors characters, and their commedia analogs.

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One Man, Two Guvnors Dramaturgy: Skiffle & The Rise of the Beatles

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One Man, Two Guvnors, directed by Andrew Borba, is playing July 26–August 11 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

One Man Two Guvnors features a number of standard farce elements — slamming doors, mistaken identities, aggressive horseplay. Perhaps its most distinguishing feature is that it features a live four-piece skiffle band. In fact, the plot centers on the show’s protagonist, Francis, looking for work after he’s booted as the band’s trombone player. If misery loves company, Francis is in good hands as Pete Best was famously fired from the skiffle band that went on to become The Beatles. But what is skiffle anyway.

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How the Light Gets In Dramaturgy: The Art of Japanese Gardens

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How the Light Gets In, directed by Emilie Beck, is playing July 18-20 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

How the Light Gets In is set in a Japanese style garden in America. First developed as a place of reflection in the 6th century, gardens have long been a staple of Japanese art. The garden tradition has roots in the Shinto faith and was later influenced by the rise of Buddhism as well as by Chinese gardening techniques.

Over time, Japanese gardens evolved to take on many different forms. Tea gardens were first introduced in the Momoyama period (1185-1573), while larger Zen rock gardens became popular during the Edo period (1615-1867). Today, the three main styles of traditional Japanese gardens are the Karesansui (rock/dry/Zen garden), Tsukiyama (hill and pond garden), and Chaniwa (tea garden), each of which carries meaning. The garden in How the Light Gets In is a chaniwa; one of the play’s central conflicts involves the construction of a chashitsu, or tea ceremony house, in the garden.

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How the Light Gets In: An Interview with Playwright E. M. Lewis

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How the Light Gets In, by directed by Emilie Beck will play July 18-20 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

What was your original inspiration for this piece?                                                                       

How the Light Gets In is a very personal play. I was writing Grace’s journey through the crisis she faces as I was taking my own.                                                               

Do you have a defined process for how you write a new play or is it different for every piece?                                                                       

Every play I’ve written has had its own process. Some have taken years to research and write (like my Antarctic epic Magellanica). Others force me to carry a notebook everywhere, because the words are clamoring in my head so loudly and I can’t write fast enough! Some of my plays are big and socio-political, some are more intimate and personal.... I try to figure out what each play needs.

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The Christians: June 28–July 14

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Behind the Curtain: Five Questions with Taibi Magar, Director of The Christians

We sat down with Taibi Magar, director of The Christians, to discuss faith and belief, her rehearsal process, and the Chautauqua Motet Choir. 

 

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History of Faith at Chautauqua Institution

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Pictured: A map of the Burned-over District. Counties in red are part of the district.

It should surprise no Chautauquan that Western New York has a long, rich history of cultural activity and intellectual, interfaith dialogue. Chautauqua Institution embodies these values, which appeared to emerge with the arrival of various religious sects to the area. Western New York earned the name “the Burned-Over District” for the way it was spiritually transformed — set ablaze, one might say — by the religious movements that swept across it from the 1790s through the following century.

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Interfaith Moments of Change

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The Christians, directed by Taibi Magar, will play June 28-July 14 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

The Christians’ Pastor Paul is not the only faith leader who has come under fire for a change in belief. Here’s a look at historical faith leaders who have advocated for an evolution of belief within their community.

Rabbi Abraham Geiger - Reform Judaism 

Abraham Geiger was a 19th-century rabbi and scholar who is today considered the intellectual founder of Reform Judaism. He was the driving force in leading other reform-minded Rabbis in formulating a program of progressive Judaism. However, unlike the relatively more extreme Samuel Holdheim,  he did not want to create a separate community. His goal instead was to “change Judaism from within.”

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Bold Theatricality: A Chat with Taibi Magar, Director of ​The Christians

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The Christians, ​directed by Taibi Magar, will play June 28-July 14 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available ​here​.

Taibi Magar is an Egyptian-American, Obie-winning director based in New York City, who is helming CTC’s production of ​The Christians. ​Artistic Producer Sarah Wansley sat down with Taibi to hear about what drew her to this play and how her approach to the text is fully embracing the theatricality of Lucas Hnath’s play.

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Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2017 New Play Workshop ‘Birthday Candles’ Goes to Broadway

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Will Star Debra Messing and be Directed by Former CTC Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch

Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC), under the leadership of Artistic Director Andrew Borba and Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy, is pleased to announce that its 2017 New Play Workshop Birthday Candles by Noah Haidle will be opening on Broadway in 2019–2020 season. Former CTC artistic director Vivienne Benesch will direct the Broadway premiere at the Roundabout Theatre Company, and the production will star Debra Messing, best known for her lead role in the NBC television series "Will & Grace."

Birthday Candles was originally commissioned by Detroit Public Theater (DPT) in the fall of 2016. In the summer of 2017, it received a workshop production at CTC, directed by Benesch. Benesch followed the production to DPT where it received a world premiere in May 2018. This is the first time DPT and CTC have partnered in this way: from DPT’s commission, to CTC’s workshop performance and back to DPT’s world premiere.

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