I sat in on the first rehearsal of the M.F.A. third year’s production of Good Breeding (written by Robert O’Hara; directed by Timothy Douglas) because I am creating the program for its run. Douglas is a passionate man whose gangliness and slight geeky-quality immediately made me like him. I was in touch with him earlier last month to ask about an announcement we were creating for the show. After the correspondence, I emailed him again about another matter, and his automated email response replied: My Inbox is filing a Chapter 11. Something additionally clever followed. So, yes, I like this man.
When welcoming his cast of third years, he explained how theater is never just about theater for him. It is always about his relationship to the world. What am I, he asks himself, contributing to the world? And he asked his cast to keep that question in their minds throughout the process. How will this production contribute to the world?
It is an interesting question. What does Good Breeding–a fantastic, daring, and brutal adaptation of the Oresteia–have to offer the world? It shows Greek gods having orgies. It explores the repercussions of characters succeeding in shirking their fate, often by killing people they were not supposed to kill (or, at least, not as quickly as they did). It questions the indifference of Zeus and the violence of a patriarchal society. It is a great play. It will be a great show. It will be a amazing night of theater that I think will knock socks off. But how will it contribute to the world?
During a break between acts, Douglas asked nobody in particular if they had watched Drunk History 3 on Youtube. I had, and you should too because it is pretty hysterical:
Also found here, if video doesn’t work.
The Zeum Theater, where we will show Good Breeding, seats 200. It will have a run of 12 shows, which means a maximum of 2,400 people will see it.
At the time of this posting, 111,677 have watched Drunk History 3.
I don’t know which will contribute more to the world, but one is certainly reaching more of the world. One will be accessible by the world for longer and for quite a bit cheaper.
The third years are pretty amazing, not only in terms of their talent but also in terms of their bravery. It is quite a field to commit oneself to. I’ve been interviewing the cast of Jane Anderson’s Quality of Life (our next show on the mainstage with Laurie Metcalf, JoBeth Williams, Steven Culp, Dennis Boutsikaris, and Caroline Lagerfelt), and to varying degrees they all seem to prefer the stage to the film set. I wonder if our third year’s will always come back to theater as these five have. Or if they will make a name for themselves on YouTube instead.