Author Tira Palmquist Talks TEN MILE LAKE at Serenbe Playhouse, Opening Tonight
In Tira Palmquist's Ten Mile Lake, receiving its world premiere this June at Serenbe Playhouse, Maggie (Veronika Duerr) and Howard (Mark Kincaid) tread the choppy waters of their strained daughter/father relationship. Over the course of the show both come to realize how important they are to each other, and how a place known as "home" can drive a wedge between two people and ultimately bring them back together.
Palmquist says "When I wrote the play, I very consciously chose a single setting -- a lake-side dock -- partly out of ease of production (a single set). I never imagined the play would actually get produced on a lake.
"This play began as a short piece assigned to me by Gary Garrison at the Kennedy Center Playwrights' Intensive. There were several required elements of our final piece -- it had to move back and forth in time, it had to use sound effects, and -- most importantly -- it had to have something to do with something that we had learned or encountered during our 10 day intensive. I knew that I wanted to write a play about fathers and daughters (realizing that I had some unfinished business with my own father, who passed away about 20 years ago), though I didn't necessarily want to write a totally biographical play. One day we had a great session on writing from improv with some professional actors from the D.C. area, and I volunteered to give them some given circumstances. I chose two actors, and told them, "OK. You're a father and daughter. Father, you're in the air force. Doing things the right way is important to you. Daughter, you're 13. And.... you're 13. Father, you have to teach her how to clean a fish. Daughter, you don't want to." This improv was the initial nugget of the play, and while I didn't use all of that improv verbatim in the play, you'll see that this is a scene that stayed in the story.
"This is a play about reconciliation and forgiveness -- and how hard that is, how hard it is to ask for that. It is also, as I say, a play about fathers and daughters. The relationship between a father and daughter is much different (for complicated reasons that I won't go into here) than a relationship between a mother and a daughter, and I tried to explore some of that in the play. It's also, as you'll see, a play about aging parents, and how hard it can be to encounter that, to know how to care for our parents as they age -- and how hard it is to age and let someone take care of you.
"I also really wanted to write a play in Minnesota. I grew up there, and my summers at various lakes in Minnesota became a fruitful inspiration for Maggie's experience growing up in Minnesota. I drew on a lot of my youth in this play though -- again -- it's not an autobiographical play. Also, there are no loons in this play. Because On Golden Pond kind of ruined that for all of us."
Other plays by Palmquist include Two Degrees, And Then They Fell, Ages of Bees among others. Her plays have been developed or produced by MadLab Theater, The Road Theatre, 9Thirty Theater, Theatre of Note, EST-LA, Seven Devils, UMass New Play Lab, Inkwell Theatre and Playwrights Theater of New Jersey. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Playwright's Unit/EST-LA, and is Co-Executive Producer of Fell Swoop Playwrights. She is currently a member of the faculty of UCIrvine.
Mark Kincaid (Howard,) Veronika Duerr (Maggie) and Bryan Brendle (Donny) lend voices to Palmquist's words for Serenbe Playhouse's production. Ten Mile Lake is directed by Alexander Greenfield (Associate Director of Broadway's Outside Mullingar, The Big Knife, An Enemy of the People, The Road to Mecca, Born Yesterday, Elling, and Mrs. Warren's Profession,) features set design by Jason Sherwood (The Mysteries - Drama Desk Award,) lighting design by Kevin Frazier, original musical compositions by Michael Finke (concerts at Joe's Pub & 54 Below), sound design by Bobby Johnston and costume design by Camilla Morrison.
Show dates and times for Ten Mile Lake are Thursdays through Sundays at 8:30 pm, tonight, June 12th through June 29th. Tickets are $25 for General Admission and $20 for Students. This production containts some mature content. Ten Mile Lake will be performed in at The Grange Lake Dock, located at 10642 Serenbe Lane, Chattahoochee Hills, GA 30268. For more information about Serenbe Playhouse and to purchase tickets, visit www.serenbeplayhouse.com or call 770.463.1110. You can follow Serenbe Playhouse on Facebook, OnstageSerenbe on Twitter and Serenbe Playhouse on Instagram.
ABOUT SERENBE PLAYHOUSE: Serenbe Playhouse believes that theatre is an art form with a unique power to illuminate the human experience, and does so by producing artistically rich, open-air theatrical performances for audiences throughout Greater Metro Atlanta. A pioneer in modeling Green Theatre Practices, Serenbe Playhouse produces plays with a commitment to social responsibility and environmental stewardship. Founded in 2009 under the executive and artistic direction of Brian Clowdus, an accomplished actor, educator, director, and producer, and established under the umbrella of its parent organization, The Serenbe Institute for Art, Culture, and the Environment, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Serenbe Playhouse operates with the support of a diverse working board of directors and community volunteers.
Photo Credit: BreeAnne Clowdus