As the second part of our Marching into Madness series, PBTS presents a special 3 night engagement of [title of show]. This production travels from the Limelight Theatre in St. Augustine, where it was staged this past August. Sadie LaManna sat down with the director (and actor) Christopher Pritchard, and talked about what PBTS audiences could expect.
1. Tell us a little bit about [title of show].
Jeff and Hunter, two struggling writers, hear about a new musical theatre festival. However, the deadline for submissions is a mere three weeks away. With nothing to lose, the pair decides to try to create something new with the help of their friends Susan, Heidi and Larry on the keyboard. With the cast in place, Jeff and Hunter begin a conversation about what to write about. Eventually, Jeff suggests they write about what to write about. They make a pact to write up until the festival’s deadline and dream about the show changing their lives. [title of show] follows Hunter, Jeff, and their friends on their journey through the gauntlet of creative self-expression. In the span of 90 minutes they write and perform their show at the festival and learn lessons about themselves as people, friends and artists.
2. Why act in and direct the show?
Because I am a gluten for punishment! No… but seriously this production started out as a crazy “what if…” I ran the idea by Beth Lambert, the Executive Director of Limelight Theatre, and she gave us the green light and the rest is history! I suppose part of me is really connected to the character of Jeff and I knew I wanted to play him but I really wanted to have a hand in shaping all of these characters and their relationships. But to take all of the credit for the direction of this piece would be a complete disservice to my amazing collaborators and actors on this piece Butler Robertson, Chloé Cordle and Ameena Mckenzie.
3. What was the most difficult part of tackling both roles, on and off the stage?
That is a great question and I don’t know if I could pinpoint the most difficult part. It is very difficult to look at the larger picture of a piece when you are onstage as a part of the piece. When we originally put it up at Limelight back in August it was a lot of me filming rehearsals and then going home and watching the tapes at night to take notes to give to the other actors. It’s also challenging to put aside my feelings for Jeff as the actor portraying him in order to figure out how he fits into the larger story we are trying to tell.
4. What has it been like presenting this show at festivals, most recently the 2014 Florida Theatre Conference?
It has been a whirlwind of elation and excitement. I am currently living and studying theatre in New York at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, so for both Florida Theatre Conference and Southeastern Theatre Conference we had very limited rehearsals before it was in front of the adjudicators. But it is so different than doing it at Limelight Theatre or PBTS because you have 80 minutes to put your set onstage, perform the piece, and take everything offstage. There is an adrenaline rush like no other when you are under that kind of time restraint. We really did have a wonderful time at both conferences and we received some very insightful and helpful feedback from the adjudicators so the PBTS audiences will being seeing the best performances we have given to date.
5. What are you hoping to offer the PBTS audiences?
What is so brilliant about this show is that there really truly is something in it for everyone. For those who are theatre know-it-alls, there are enough inside jokes to keep you laughing for days. But at the same time, those who are more casual theatre-goers, still find the characters relatable and the energy invigorating. At its core,[title of show] is about embracing your creativity. It’s about overcoming obstacles and loving yourself for who you are. It’s about being proud of your work whether you’re a theatre maker or an accountant; it’s a part of who you are.
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