Wednesday, August 3, 2016

First Day of Rehearsal - What the Butler Saw

by AnnaBeth Crittenden
Marketing Intern

Rehearsals for this season’s fourth production, What the Butler Saw, began on Friday, July 29th. As is tradition for the Playhouse, the day began with a meet-and-greet with the staff, as well as a presentation from the designers of the show.

Joe Orton's comedy, What the Butler Saw, takes place in a psychiatric ward where Dr. Prentice is attempting to seduce his a young girl interviewing to become his secretary. When he is caught by his wife, he hides the girl in the office. Unbeknownst to him, Mrs. Prentice is being seduced and blackmailed by a lusty bellhop who is also seeking the secretary job. A government inspector looms, a cross-dressing policeman falls from a skylight, and doors relentlessly slam as the spouses attempt to hide their various affairs.

Back (R-L) Paxton Whitehead (Dr. Rance), Julian Gamble (Sergeant March),
Robert Stanton (Dr. Prentice), Chris Ghaffari (Nicholas), John Tillinger (Director)
Front (R-L) Sarah Manton (Gertrude), Patricia Kalember (Mrs. Prentice)
The show features Playhouse favorites Paxton Whitehead (WCP’s Bedroom Farce, The Circle, How the Other Half Loves, more); Sarah Manton (WCP's Bedroom Farce, Things We Do for Love); Patricia Kalember (WCP’s A Marriage Minuet); and Robert Stanton (WCP’s Hay Fever). It also introduces Playhouse newcomers Julian Gamble (Broadway’s The Seagull, The Invention of Love, Democracy, The Iceman Cometh, and more) and Chris Ghaffari (Hartford Stage’s Romeo & Juliet, The New York Shakespeare Festival’s King Lear).

John Tillinger and Mark Lamos

Artistic Director Mark Lamos began the rehearsal with an introduction of the show and playwright, Joe Orton. “[Joe Orton was] one of the most divine playwrights who has ever lived, unfortunately [he lived a] very short life. But we do have What the Butler Saw, perhaps his greatest play," Lamos said.

Lamos then introduced director John Tillinger (WCP’s Bedroom Farce, How the Other Half Loves, Children, and more). What the Butler Saw marks Tillinger’s 16th production at the Playhouse.

“I’ve done [What the Butler Saw] three times. It was a big success in London, a big success in New York, a big success in Los Angeles,” Tillinger said. “So I’ve got one more chance to [mess] it up.” Tillinger then thanked the Playhouse for continually asking him back to direct. “I just begin to feel that this is my home. It’s really a joy to be here,” he said.

Scenic Designer James Noone
Scenic Designer James Noone (Things We Do for Love, How the Other Half Loves, Children, and more) discussed his vision for the play.

Noone then showed his scenic model for the stage. The show takes place in a hospital, complete with multiple swinging doors and gurneys.  “There’s not a lot of furniture because a lot goes on; there’s a lot of running around,” Noone said.

Costume Designer Laurie Churba (WCP’s Bedroom Farce, Things We Do for Love, How the Other Half Loves, Hot ‘n Cole,
and more) showed her costume designs for the show. “The costumes are a little complicated…there’s a lot of underwear we have to discover and find,” Churba said. “It’s [set in] 1968, so we’ll try to keep it as period as we can.”

Cast and Crew of What the Butler Saw

Following the design presentation, the cast and crew began their first run-through of the show.

What the Butler Saw begins on August 23 and runs through September 10. We hope to see you there!

No comments: