MASTER WORKS: THE DEGAS PLAYS Comes to Commedia Beauregard This Weekend
Commedia Beauregard, a Chicago-based theatre company, announces the publication of three play collections as part of its Master Works short play festival. This is the seventh time that Commedia Beauregard has held the festival, which translates paintings to the stage, but the first time the plays will be available in print. The new scripts include works based on the paintings of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Degas. This year's offering, Master Works: The Degas Plays will also be performed at the Den Theatre for one weekend only -- today, May 29th through June 1st, 2014. Shows are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
"[Commedia Beauregard] has given these scripts what I'm calling 'the museum treatment'," stated Spenser Davis, one of the featured playwrights. "Much as the paintings of Degas are hung next to one another in an art exhibition, so too are these Degas-inspired plays published next to one another, so [readers] can take in several in one sitting... giving them the opportunity to revisit the adaptations that they particularly enjoyed and comparing the experience of reading these scripts with their memories of seeing the productions and possibly making new thematic discoveries along the way."
Allowing the audience and the reader to make such discoveries fits well with Commedia Beauregard's mission, which focuses on bringing translated works to the stage. For Master Works: The Degas Plays, six award-winning playwrights were brought together to each translate one painting by Edgar Degas into a new short play. One such painting is Café Singer (which can be viewed at the Art Institute of Chicago). Playwright Rachel Bykowski explained "I was absolutely fascinated by the woman depicted in the Café Singer, and I think Degas was too. To translate something like this I had to conduct my own interview with this Singer... who is she singing to and most importantly, why is she singing in the first place." From this "interview" with the painting's sole subject, Bykowski created She Sings for You - a play which includes a colorful cast of characters.
Master Works: The Degas Plays is full of color and movement, much like the paintings of Degas. It is also full of dance, deception and laughs! Each piece is brought to life by a local Director, translating the works from the page to the stage. Wm. Bullion, who directs See You Soon (written by Commedia Beauregard Company Member, Jackie Davies), shared "I am loving the chance to create - or at least echo - the mood of Degas's L'Absinthe. Very moving, very ethereal; like a long, sad date with the Green Fairy herself."
Also new to print are Master Works: The Rembrandt Plays, featuring works originally performed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2010 and Master Works: The Van Gogh Plays, a collection of plays from the 2013 festival in Chicago. All three collections will be available for purchase at Master Works: The Degas Plays performances and through the Company's IndieGoGo campaign. www.indiegogo.com/projects/master-works-the-degas-plays
"There's always something magical about holding your manuscript in your hands for the first time... you realize that this thing you've created is real. It has weight." - Cassandra Rose, playwright of Dancers at Rest, one of 18 the newly published plays, part of the Master Works: The Degas Plays collection.
Master Works: The Degas Plays performances Thurs., May 29 @ 7:30 p.m., Fri., May 30 @ 7:30 p.m., Sat., May 31 @ 7:30 p.m., Sun., June 1 at 3:00 p.m. at The Den Theatre, 1333 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622. Tickets: $15 tickets can be ordered in advance through www.cbtheatre.org, or by calling 800-838-3006.
Master Works: The Degas Plays features new plays by Matt Beard, Rachel Bykowski, Jackie Davies, Spenser Davis, Cassandra Rose and Julia Weiss. Directed by Wm. Bullion, Jonathan Goldthwaite, Tiffany Keane, Kacie Smith, Abby Stark and Ginny Trover. The cast includes Ashley Boots, Kayla Boye, Natalee Cooney, Linsey Falls, Kanome' Jones, Chris Lysy, Amber Robinson, Brendan Stallings, Steven Stinson, Shawna Tucker, Leigh Yenrick, and Phil Zimmerman.
Master Works: The Van Gogh Plays includes plays by Ellen Cribbs, Christopher Kidder-Mostrom, Rory Leahy, Jason Lindner, Alberto Mendoza and Sean M. Wagner. Master Works: The Rembrandt Plays consists of plays written by Shanan Custer, Matthew A. Everett, Greg Giles, Christopher Kidder-Mostrom, Adam Sharp and Brian Watson-Jones.
About Commedia Beauregard: Founded in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1999, Commedia Beauregard is a non-profit theatre company with a mission to translate the universal human experience to the stage; to expand our horizons and share knowledge of all cultures, translating between languages and between arts to create theater that is beautiful in expression. Today, Commedia Beauregard is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and is producing exciting theatre in translation throughout the Midwest. For more, visit CBTheatre.org. Recent productions include A Klingon Christmas Carol - the only full length play performed in tlhIngan Hol (the alien language created for Star Trek), Macchiavelli's The Mandrake and last year's festival offering, Master Works: The Van Gogh Plays.