Creating Worlds, By Artistic Director, Christian Lebano

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“We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.”

Last week’s essay also began by quoting from Madeleine L’Engle’s book A Wrinkle in Time. I keep surprising myself with how many simple, yet profound, quotes from this book resonate for me. The one above puts me in mind of the wonderful team of artists that assembled to put this play on the stage who USE their talents in all the ways that really count.

This is the biggest show (in terms of cues and effects) we’ve ever done at the Playhouse and I will be forever indebted to the extraordinary designers who’ve work so hard and so long (we’ve been regularly staying at the theater until 3:30 in the morning – and even pulled a few all-nighters to get this show up.) And the effects are dazzling – so much more than a small understaffed theater like ours has any hope of creating – but create them we did.

Sean Paxton composed our music – and it is delightful. The Wrinkle/Meg theme he wrote puts me in mind of Dr. Who. It pulses and drives and makes me smile in anticipation every time I hear it. The music he wrote for Mrs. Whatsit’s transformation into the flying horse is majestic and soaring. The final moments are so fulfilling. He was able to punctuate small moments and underscore grand ones.

Chris Moscatiello supplied all of the crazy sounds I asked of him from the ridiculous to the sublime – imagine my asking you to create four different kinds of disappearing door sounds, squeaky galoshes, the sound time travel makes, school bells, and the sound of magic flowers being plucked from the ground, plus dozens of others! He never batted an eye – he worked tirelessly to make them all just what was needed AND dazzling.

Vicki Conrad costumed this monster of a show where actors jump from one character to another in an instant and need to be running around the building while they do it! She brought the characters to life and made them look as real or as wild as was appropriate. From pajamas for the kids to the drab dresses of Camazotz she creates worlds.

Rebecca Hairston put more lighting instruments in our grid than we’ve ever used before. She created lighting that is sometimes so beautiful that it takes your breath away – and sometimes so sinister that you sense that danger is just around the corner. She is indefatigable – she works so hard to get the limited resources that we have to look like what you would expect to see at the bigger theaters and she does it all with a wisecracking wit and endless good humor.

Matt Hill did double duty as set and projection designer – and wait till you see what magic he creates from the three different projectors we are using. Watch Meg walk down the stairs, fly through the universe, approach a haunted house, and walk the streets of Camazotz through his projections. He has taken all of my requests and given me more than I had a right to expect AND he threw in a couple of surprises that have become some of my favorite moments in the show.

This team has been a gift. They have shared their talent and their professionalism with me and our cast all in hopes of creating something magical for you, our patrons. Working with them has been such a pleasure. I’m very proud of the work we have created, and I’m very grateful to them all. All of this has been managed so expertly by our Stage Manager Kelsey O’Keeffe and her Assistant Emily Hopfauf – I’ll tell you more about them in another posting.

As always we here at SMP do all of this for you – our faithful patrons. I look forward to seeing you and the young people in your life (this show will truly captivate them) in the audiences. We open March 10 and run Friday nights and Saturday matinees through April 22. For tickets please call Mary in the box office at 626.355.4318 or go to SierraMadrePlayhouse.org. Hope to see you soon!