Looking at WNY’s visual art, theater, music, and dance scenes.
May 24, 2012
10:04 AMTalk about Arts
Spree Theater with Darwin McPherson: Red Thread's "Frozen"
Though the rest of the theater season is cooling down, Red Thread Theatre is heating up the stage with Bryony Lavery’s psychological thriller Frozen, now playing at the Marie Maday College at Canisius College. Co-directed by two of Red Thread’s founders, Josephine Hogan and Eileen Dugan, Frozen stars Dugan, Lisa Ludwig, and Eric Rawski.
Shortly before it opened, we spoke to Eileen Dugan about the show.
Darwin McPherson: How did Red Thread discover Frozen and why did you choose to do it?
Eileen Dugan: I found Frozen in one of my trolling-for-plays searches of Dramatists Play Services—looking through blurbs and then following up on what seems interesting by reading reviews, etc. I order a few scripts at a time … many, many disappointments, but this one got to me. It was beautifully written, with strong roles for women, and about something. I like plays that raise questions, that ask the audience to examine values or challenge expectations. Jo read the play, and we agreed it was the kind of thing we were interested in doing.
Eileen Dugan as Nancy in Frozen
What is it about?
It is about three characters brought together, or made to intersect, by the disappearance and murder of a little girl: The child’s mother, the murderer, and a psychiatrist who studies whether or not there is a difference between a “crime of evil and a crime of illness.”
As the mother grieves, she also grows, and eventually makes an unexpected leap toward forgiveness. The psychiatrist works at her thesis that there is no evil--and her research leads her to question the premise of her life’s work. The pedophile/murderer seems inhuman, but also has a moment of realization that leads him to profound change.
Both you and Josephine are directing. Why? How does that work?
Jo and I actually approached some directors to talk about the show, but there were conflicting schedules, and we both seemed to share so much of what we thought about the play, that we thought, “This could work”. It’s a little tricky, because I am in the show. We did a lot of talking before we started, so we were on the same page. Jo has been so busy, and for the first couple of weeks, I probably had more of the rehearsal time. (The structure of the play really helped. The first act is almost all monologues, and several big scenes in the second act are between the other two characters.) So I could work on all the pieces I’m not in, and Jo took the lead on scenes between myself and other characters, and my monologues. In the last few weeks, as we’ve been in runs, Jo has definitely been doing more of the heavy lifting, directorially, because she is out in the house, [where] she can see what the show needs.
You’re in the show, but Josephine isn’t, why?
Oh, that’s easy. Jo is doing A Delicate Balance at Irish Classical (in association with RTT), and then going straight into Da, also for Irish Classical.
Please tell me about your other cast choices, Lisa Ludwig and Eric Rawski.
We were looking for strong actors. It’s my first chance to work with Eric. I had seen him in the New Phoenix’s production of Macbeth and was so impressed. He came to mind early in conversations about the play. I’ve worked with Lisa in a number of shows, most recently in God of Carnage at the Kavinoky. I thought she would do a great job with the role.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention about the production?
Frozen is the first production RTT is presenting at Canisius College’s Marie Maday Theatre. We are excited for the opportunity to work in the space, and are really grateful for the help and support of the college’s Little Theatre Club, which is co-sponsoring the show. We have a terrific student stage manager named Hannah Alt and backstage help from other students and former LT members. We are also really lucky to have Tom Makar and Chris Cavanagh designing sound and lights.
Frozen continues through June 2. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm.
Tickets are $20.00 general admission, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Thursday performances are pay-what you can. 716-867-3102.
The Red Thread Theatre production of Frozen is performed at the Marie Mayday Theatre in Lyon's Hall on the Canisius College campus, 2001 Main Street, Buffalo, 14208.