Chautauquans are about to be exposed to a deeply personal theater experience. That is, if they’re willing to stay up for it.
At 10 p.m. July 26 in Bratton Theater, Chautauqua Theater Company will present its annual CTC After Dark event, this year titled “The CHQ Chautauqua Community Engagement Project.”
The free performance was created by CTC members who conducted interviews with Chautauquans.
They cast a wide net, interviewing everyone from coffee stand employees to lecturers to President Tom Becker about their experiences. The interviews were turned into the series of monologues for the piece.
Ashley Teague, who’s directing the show but thinks of it as more of a group collaboration, has done similar pieces before in other places. This is her first summer at Chautauqua.
When she originally wrote a blurb to describe the show, she wrote that it dealt with what it means to call something home, but that description has since evolved. She said it now says the show is about what it means to be in a community.
“It’s really about like listening to all these voices, hearing where they’re coming from, [and] trying to reach across that gap and understand different perspective,” Teague said.
Kathryn Metzger, a CTC conservatory actor, is performing in the show. She said it will look at how Chautauqua can be different for different people depending on background.
She also said it explores the challenge of “how the demographic of Chautauqua can reflect more the demographic of the United States.”
Metzger appreciates that After Dark lets the Chautauqua community speak for itself.
Teague said CTC After Dark will provide an example of what will be discussed at the upcoming Brown Bag event, “Feather or Whip: Should Theater Comfort or Challenge?” The Brown Bag will take place at 12:15 p.m. Thursday in Bratton Theater.
Leland Fowler, another conservatory actor performing in the piece, said the piece isn’t about right or wrong but instead about getting a mix of perspectives.
He said Chautauqua has a “whole string of rhetoric” concerning it.
“There’s some interviews that coincide with that rhetoric; there’s some interviews that directly contradict that rhetoric, and I think it’s very interesting to put those all in one place,” he said.