Last night, I finally went to the theatre for the first time (as a patron) in 2016. I love ushering on Broadway but one of the biggest downsides is it really cuts into available time to go see theatre, since I'm always working when shows are happening. Anyway, last night, at long last, I got to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.
I had heard nothing but good things about the show. People had told me it was visually unlike anything they'd ever seen before. I always take other people's opinions with a grain of salt, but I had read the book twice and liked it, so I expected a very enjoyable night at the theatre.
Nothing, including having read the book, prepared me for what I was going to see that evening. I can't remember the last time I sat in a theatre and was so constantly surprised by the ideas happening in the space. My jaw dropped at the initial sound cue that began the show, and I found myself every few minutes internally gasping at some new surprise on stage. I promise not to spoil any of the incredible effects, but let me just say - I have never seen walls used the way this production uses them. (If that doesn't intrigue you, I don't know what will.) I was so completely satisfied by everything in the show, down to aspects that were bothering me for a while but eventually came through to mean something and be important and another beautiful surprise.
It was so thrilling to be witness to such an invigorating production, where every detail of the show was supporting the story. The set was minimal but unbelievably versatile, the lighting and sound worked together in new ways to create a very specific aesthetic and atmosphere, the movement of the actors was new, surprising, exciting, fascinating - I can't say enough good things about the design or the company.
All of this to say - I want to do that. I'm not so musically inclined as to be able to write musicals, even though I would love to create a rock musical more than anything. That's a way down the road for me. But to create a play with that level of energy and attention to detail, that's my new goal. I want to bring that kind of movement and surprise and fresh air to a theatre. I walked out of the Barrymore feeling like I did when I left American Idiot for the first time - invigorated by the energy of the company and the intelligence and surprise of the design - and this was "just" a play.
I was looking over the creative team's bios today, and was thrilled to find that the director and the costume, set and lighting designers were all women. It's incredibly rare to find female lighting designers (I say as a female lighting designer), and, patriarchy-fueled or otherwise, even rarer that female directors and designers win Tony awards (as this production did, for direction, lighting, and set design).
According to Timehop, four years ago today is the day I officially started writing my play, Scars Over Berlin. It seems an auspicious sign that now is the time to really dig in, go big, and make this show everything I've ever dreamed it could be. Let's go.