Posts Tagged 'Fifty Ways'

Between love and oblivion

Between love and oblivion

In her new play, Fifty Ways, now playing its debut engagement in Bratton Theater, Kate Fodor explores the potent but ambiguous states of emotion that lie in the balance between loving and not loving, between forgiving and not forgiving, between moral obligation and freedom from obligation.

These are speculative states of being:

“Would I still love you if …?”

“Could I forgive you if …?”

“Would I stay with you if …?”

We may think we know the answers to those questions, but we never really do. We can never know in which of the 50 ways we might leave our lovers until fate actually delivers us to the crossroads of decision.

Guest artists share relationships on stage and off in ‘Fifty Ways’

Guest artists share relationships on stage and off in ‘Fifty Ways’

Though the married couple in Fifty Ways faces a deteriorating union and a seemingly endless feud, the actors behind the pair, Vivienne Benesch and Michael Gaston, are much bigger fans of each other.

Benesch, Chautauqua Theater Company’s artistic director, and Gaston, a guest artist actor, have been close friends for 25 years.

“We are doing this play about these intimate relationships — and Viv and I have never dated — but we’ve lived through each other’s relationships. We’ve lived through each other’s careers’ ups and downs,” Gaston said. “There are a lot of things about this play, which is brand new, which reflects our 25-year friendship.”

Gaston and Benesch are but two of the three guest artist actors in Fifty Ways, which shows at 8 p.m. tonight in Bratton Theater and runs through July 29. The third, David Aaron Baker, has also known Benesch and Gaston for many years.

Production team reunites for Fodor’s world premiere

Production team reunites for Fodor’s world premiere

There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are six ways the world premiere of the play Fifty Ways ties to playwright Kate Fodor’s previous world premiere.

Six people who opened Fodor’s February 2012 world premiere of Rx in New York City are now at Chautauqua for the world premiere of Fifty Ways: playwright Fodor; director Ethan McSweeny; set designer Lee Savage; production stage manager Jenn Rae Moore; assistant stage manager Bales Karlin; and sound designer Lindsay Jones.

“In a way, it’s not ‘Why are so many people from Rx working on Fifty Ways,’ but ‘Why are so many people from Chautauqua working on Rx,’ ” McSweeny said. “That comes directly out of work we’ve done with Kate here.”

‘Fifty Ways’: A promising play full of hurt, more hurt and hope

‘Fifty Ways’: A promising play full of hurt, more hurt and hope

Fifty Ways, the new play by Kate Fodor showing in premiere with the Chautauqua Theater Company, might become music in time. Its promise is atonal. Right now, it plays too pleasantly.

Fifty Ways begins with great assurance, dropping several F-bombs by the end of Page 3 and keeping up that verbal damage for the duration.

As well, the protagonist quickly and convincingly vomits three times, his wife having just concluded a declamation with an odd synesthesia about the different barks her house emanates, which is her way of complaining about the things that don’t work around the place. Those things that don’t work bark at her.

Behind the scenes at the  world premiere of ‘Fifty Ways’

Behind the scenes at the world premiere of ‘Fifty Ways’

It’s two minutes before the show starts on opening night. The air teems with anxiety, energy and excitement. Actors and crewmembers rush in and out of dressing rooms, bathrooms and hallways — lit by black light — in an effort to be fully ready for their call to places, which signifies the start of Act One of Fifty Ways.

Nervousness fills the space. Chautauqua Theater Company Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch, who plays Nina Strauss, is fully made up and dressed. She stops in the dressing room of her fellow actors.

“It’s just another show,” she says. It’s both a reminder and a reassurance for herself and the rest of the five-person cast.

But really, it’s not just another show. It is CTC’s first world premiere, and it is the world premiere of the first play ever commissioned by CTC and the Chautauqua Writers’ Center.

McSweeny directs ‘Fifty Ways’ with meticulous vision

McSweeny directs ‘Fifty Ways’ with meticulous vision

Ethan McSweeny is a storyteller, but always of someone else’s story. And on average, he tells five different stories per year as a nationally acclaimed freelance director.

Be it William Shakespeare’s epic plays at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., or playwright Kate Fodor’s brand-new productions in Chautauqua’s own Bratton Theater, McSweeny gives life to the works of others.

“I am the interpreter. In the same way that a conductor is not a composer,” McSweeny said, in a momentary lull in the midst of rehearsals for the show he is currently directing.

‘Fifty Ways’ explores what it takes to truly leave your lover

‘Fifty Ways’ explores what it takes to truly leave your lover

Paul Simon taught the world that there are 50 ways to leave your lover. Just slip out the back, Jack. Make a new plan, Stan.

Playwright Kate Fodor re-examines what it really means to leave your lover in her play Fifty Ways, aptly named after the Simon hit. Fodor’s play explores the complexities that tie and unwind a married couple in Fifty Ways, which previews at 8 p.m. tonight at Bratton Theater and opens at 6 p.m. Saturday in Bratton Theater. Fifty Ways, the first play commissioned by Chautauqua Theater Company and the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, marks CTC’s first world premiere.

Playwright Fodor presents first Chautauqua commissioned play

Playwright Fodor presents first Chautauqua commissioned play

For the past year, Kate Fodor sculpted, plied and perfected her play Fifty Ways. In the past few weeks, she handed the reigns to Chautauqua Theater Company to transport her written word to the Bratton Theater stage.

Fifty Ways is a landmark for both CTC and Fodor. It is the first world premiere of a play held at CTC and the first play commissioned by CTC and the Writers’ Center. For Fodor, it is her first play with heft, as it deals with realistic, mature themes, she said.

“It’s this strange change from being the sole owner and creator of this piece and having this incredibly intimate relationship with the thing that I’m making … and then having it be a collaborative effort with a lot of people,” Fodor said. “In some strange way, it stops feeling like it’s entirely mine anymore.”

Production team breathes life into ‘Fifty Ways’

Production team breathes life into ‘Fifty Ways’

The production staff for Fifty Ways is robustly discussing vomit: the consistency, the clean-up, the optimal look. When the script calls for vomit, the production team delivers.

Each production detail for the world premiere of Fifty Ways takes a discussion to perfect.

Fifty Ways debuts at 8 p.m. Friday in Bratton Theater and officially opens at 6 p.m. Saturday in Bratton Theater and runs through July 29. It is Chautauqua Theater Company’s first-ever world premiere — the middle production in a month of new work from CTC — but it is the third play the company has produced by playwright Kate Fodor.

The Chautauqua Play Commission, created by CTC and the Writers’ Center, granted Fodor the funds to write. The play’s title yields from the Paul Simon song “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” and follows one couple, played by CTC Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch and Guest Artist Actor Michael Gaston, in the throes of the later years of marriage.

Chautauqua Theater Company season features lady leads

Chautauqua Theater Company season features lady leads

It’s a season of leading ladies on- and offstage for Chautauqua Theater Company.

The plays showcase strong females such as Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story and Rosalind in As You Like It. But offstage, CTC touts blond and vivacious Vivienne Benesch in her first year as the sole artistic director.

“All of the characters central to these plays are really going through a moment where their understanding of who they are within themselves and within their community is on a precipice,” Benesch said. “That is a really interesting current. Being witness to that is exciting theater.”