Sunday, June 7, 2009

Good News From St. Louis

The Good News Theatre Blog hits the road today -- here's a report from St. Louis from our friend, colleague, and frequent contributor Daniel Talbott. Daniel is currently appearing as Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. He writes:

How are you guys?! I wanted to throw something out there to you all again as a possibility for the Good News blog. It has to do with St. Louis and the wonderful independent theatre community out here, and I’ve just been so impressed by it and all the local actors I’ve been working with on Merry Wives that I wanted to at least try to give them a shout out and to put it out there in some way. I’ve been really inspired by how deeply dedicated and wonderful the local theatre community is and how connected I feel it is in spirit to the indie theatre in New York.

We’ve been out here working on the play for about five weeks now and I’ve been really lucky to start to get to know a lot of the local actors in the cast and to have gotten the chance to see a couple productions with them while I’ve been out here. I saw a wonderful new adaptation of Woyzeck and also Rebecca Gilman’s play The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, and with both shows it’s reminded me so much of being home in a really great way – lots of insanely hard-working, talented theatre folks busting their asses to put on the best possible show with limited resources and money. It’s been really inspiring to me to see how much theatre is going on out here and what a vital and supportive community it is, and I’ve been especially blown away by the audiences of the plays.

The audiences for Merry Wives, Woyzeck, and The Sweetest Swing are so supportive and hungry and it’s been a great reminder for me of the relationship you can have as an actor with an audience onstage. The audiences so far are insanely diverse and full of kids, families, young people, old people, and have been every color of the rainbow, and they are unjaded and open and extremely excited to be there. They start to line up at around five o’clock in the afternoon and when the show starts at eight they’re loud and involved and their energy across the board has made us all better onstage, and especially on a night when we’re having a tough time or feeling low or down they inspire the hell out of us and drive us. It honestly feels like being at an outdoor music festival or rock concert and the audience comes ready to be engaged and to play and has such a strong understanding of how much they’re a part of what we all do. It’s been a wonderful experience and reminder and I feel like the audiences and the vibe of the shows are such a testament to how tight, hard-working, and inspired the local theatre is.

I’ve loved getting to come to another city and be part of their theatre community for a while and get to know all these peeps and it’s been deeply important to me to be reminded about how much theatre is happening all over this country and how hungry people are for it and how independent theatre is thriving and is everywhere.

Hope you guys again are both doing great out there and I miss you and can’t wait to see yas when we get our butts home in the mids of June.

I'm feeling totally inspired now! Thanks, Daniel, for the great post.

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