Monday, July 23, 2012

Rewriting Shakespeare

By Audra Lord
WWT Administrative Manager and Resident Playwright

The great thing about working for Water Works Theatre Company is that they truly recognize and honor the varied skills of their team; in fact, so many of us wear different hats that it's not at all uncommon to see the bookkeeper making masks or the office wench writing a play! 

Last season, Executive Director Ed Nahhat wanted to offer a new event: afternoon performances of Shakespeare's sonnets in Starr Jaycee Park. Ed was familiar with my successes as a local playwright and suggested that I be involved.  I got to work and cobbled together a script from Shakespeare's sonnets, creating a theatrical event which would ultimately become the one-act play, Summer Sonnets. To give it narrative structure, I set it in the Classic Hollywood era, using the basic bones of All About Eve, a classic Bette Davis film that explores the rivalry between an aging stage diva and a much younger newcomer. Throw in some wacky film fans, a tuneless minstrel, a violent death, and...wham! It was a play. The staged reading was well received (and well-executed by Director Holly Conroy and her talented cast) that we decided that Summer Sonnets should have an encore.

Flash forward to this year's Version 2.0. The rewrite is complete, and currently in rehearsals under the able direction of JM Ethridge, a woman whose comic instincts are impeccable. If I die before she does, I'd like her to write the eulogy. I would probably laugh myself back to life. The new script has been contemporized, sexied-up and moved to contemporary Hollywood. We've added more music and amped up the wackiness, celebrity, bitchiness and sleaze. It's fantastic, unique and hilarious, and I am very proud of the part I played in making this happen. When I began to write plays, I never dreamed I would end up rewriting Shakespeare, but again this summer, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Please join us for this FREE show Saturdays and Sundays August 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 3:00pm. No tickets necessary, just come as you are. We look forward to seeing you at the park!