Producing SENSE & SENSIBILITY

S&S posterNext month, afO brings a beloved author’s work back to our stage. Jane Austen’s Emma was an audience favorite back in 2012. This time, we are presenting the area premiere of a lively new adaptation of Austen’s Sense & Sensibility.  Just how lively, you ask?

This stage play moves at a gallop, with five catty Gossips leading the way, commenting on scenes, moving the other actors into place, and taking a number of key roles themselves. Continue reading

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Source Material for “A Mighty Fortress”

For those who may wish to pursue further reading on Martin Luther and the Reformation era, here is a bibliography of the research sources I used when I wrote A Mighty Fortress (1988). In 1991 when we premiered it (after fairly aggressive editing), I created some supplemental material for congregations to have ahead of our performance for their information: namely, the list of source material, and a fact sheet of historic people and terms.

 

SOURCE MATERIAL

Bainton, Roland H.     Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther.  New York:  Abingdon Press, 1950.  (This is a fantastic biography, and was my primary source.)

Brokering, Herbert and Roland Bainton.    A Pilgrimage to Luther’s Germany.  Minneapolis:  Winston Press, 1983.  (mostly photos)

Gritsch, Eric W.    Martin–God’s Court Jester.  Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983.

Kerr, Hugh Thomson, Jr., ed.    A Compend of Luther’s Theology.  London:  Westminster Press, 1943.

Luther, Martin.    Three Treatises from the American Edition of Luther’s Works. (“To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation”‘; “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church”; and “The Freedom of a Christian”.)  Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976 (7th printing)

Olivier, Daniel.    The Trial of Luther.  Translated by John Tonkin.  St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1978.

Rupp, Gordon E.    Luther’s Progress to the Diet of Worms.  New York: Harper & Row (Harper Torchbooks), 1964.

FOR FURTHER READING

Bruce, F.F.  The English Bible: a History of Translations. Oxford University Press, 1961.

Dickens, A.G.    Reformation and Society in Sixteenth Century Europe.  Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.  1966.

Tim Dowley, ed.,   Eerdman’s Handbook to the History of Christianity.  Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1977.

Freedman, Harry.  The Murderous History of Bible Translations.  Bloomsbury Press, 2016

Gregory, Brad S., lecturer. The History of Christianity in the Reformation Era [sound recording: 18 CDs and outline booklet–The Great Courses].  The Teaching Company, 2000.

Grun, Bernard, ed.    The Timetables of History, a Horizontal Linkage of People and Events.  New York:  Simon & Schuster (Touchstone Books), 1982 edition.

Luther, Martin.    The Bondage of the Will.  Translated by J.I. Packer and O.R. Johnston.  Old Tappan, NY:  Fleming H. Revell Co., 1957.

———————.    Commentary on Romans.  Translated by J. Theodore Mueller.  Grand Rapids:  Kregel Publishing, 1988 (12th printing).

———————.    The Place of Trust.  Translated by Jaroslav Pelikan;  Martin E. Marty, ed.  San Francisco:  Harper & Row, 1983.

Wagner, J.A., ed.  Voices of the Reformation–Contemporary accounts of daily life. A collection of primary source documents. Greenwood Books, 2015.

 

Famous Reformation-Era People and Terms You Need to Know

Luther PosterHere are short descriptions of the main historic figures and terms referred to in A Mighty Fortress and its new Prologue.

Being a bit familiar with them in advance will definitely help you to appreciate the events more thoroughly.

HISTORIC PEOPLE AND TERMS FOR YOU TO KNOW:

 

 

wyliffeJohn Wycliffe (ca 1320 to 1384): known as the “Morning Star” of the English Reformation, an Oxford seminary professor who publicly criticized the decadence of the clergy and the luxurious excess of the Church. He supported rendering the Scriptures into the language of the common people, and supervised a translation of the Bible from the Vulgate into Middle English. He died of a stroke in 1384. He was declared a heretic by the Catholic Church in 1415, and his remains were exhumed, burned, and cast into a river. Continue reading

A Double Celebration: 500 and 25

season-banner-2017-2018

It’s fairly obvious from the banner what WE are celebrating this year:  all for One was founded 25 years ago this September.  But by a happy coincidence, the very first play in our repertoire, A Mighty Fortress, concerns the events surrounding another significant anniversary this fall:  500 years since the start of the Protestant Reformation. That made it an easy decision to produce it as the opening show of our anniversary season.

The Reformation is generally agreed to have “officially” begun with Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. He was calling for public debate concerning the Catholic Church’s practice of selling “indulgences” (reduction of the soul’s sentence in purgatory). This led to several confrontations with the secular and religious leaders of the day, culminating in his trial before Emperor Charles V.

Luther PosterA Mighty Fortress, which opens September 15, and stars Jadon Moore as Martin Luther,  is a powerful one-man show which introduces the audience to Luther while he is in hiding in Wartburg Castle. He relives for his viewers the events which led him to his final break with Rome. Filled with humor and humanity, this hour-long performance is an important play for contemporary audiences’ understanding of Church history. Luther models for us a man with of courage, humility and wisdom.

Future blog posts will give a brief synopsis of events leading up to the Reformation; important historic people and terms; and a bibliography of sources for further reading.

For ticket information, go to our website: allforOnefw.org.

A Wrinkle in Time: Dramaturgy

Wrinkle in Time show artThose who are familiar with all for One will know that since 2010 we have included notes in every program designed to enrich our audience’s understanding and enjoyment of our plays. These notes, loosely referred to as dramaturgy, may include, among other things: brief biography of original author or playwright, overview of the story and/or the time period, a timeline of historic events related to the play, and notes about our staging choices.

This blog was created in 2013 to serve as a repository of all the information we can’t cram in a page or two of the printed program. In this case, there is so much information readily available online about this book, we are choosing to limit our writing to a brief biography of L’Engle and a synopsis of the beginning of the book, along with some notes on our staging. After the play opens on April 28, we may include more production notes along with photos.

Here then is an only-slightly-expanded version of the Dramaturgy you will find in our program. Those of you who will attend get a chance to read it ahead of time, and in better light.  Continue reading

Season finale: A Wrinkle in Time

Wrinkle in Time show art
Although it is hard for us on staff to realize that we are already less than a month away from our closing production of 2016-2017, designer/director Jeff Salisbury has been hard at work planning this area premiere for nine months now, and we are all getting more and more excited about bringing a new adaptation of this significant novel to our afO stage.
The first thing many will be wondering is, “Who is in the cast?”  That is easily answered:  12 actors and actresses, SIX of whom are new to the afO Home Stage, who portray over two dozen characters.
CAST LIST
Meg Murry:   Alanna Gough*
Charles Wallace Murry:  Elias Kroeker*
Calvin O’Keefe:   Reed Maibach*
Mrs. Whatsit:  Katherine Nash*
Mrs. Who:  Christine Newman-Aumiller
Mrs. Which:  Rachel Maibach
The Man with Red Eyes:  Dennis Nichols
Mrs. Murry: Brittany Scantlin* (also Camazotz citizen 2, Aunt Beast’s Voice)
Mr. Murry:  Colin Aumiller (also Goul)
with
Kristin Wilder as The Happy Medium, Principal Jenkins, Camazotz citizen 3
Ben Wilder as Henderson, U.V. Double, Son, Beast
Katie Detweiler* as Teacher, Skeleton, U.V. Double, Camazotz 1
Sarah Hobson as Post Mistress, U.V. Double, Daughter, Beast
* indicates first appearance on afO stage
PRODUCTION TEAM
Jeff Salisbury                                 Director/Production Designer/Lighting Design
Catherine Bougher                      Stage Manager
Deanna DeTurk                            Costumer
J. Scott Kump                                 Sound Design and Original Music
Christine Newman-Aumiller    Prop Design and Construction
Larry Nolan                                   Set Construction
Emily Contrares                           Video Animator
In our next post, we’ll give a short synopsis of the play, and its background as an awarding-winning children’s novel.

Other changes in our adaptation of ROMEO & JULIET

There isn’t really any such thing as a “spoiler” in a well-known story, but you might want to read this post after you see the show, so that its impact isn’t diminished by anticipation.

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romeo-juliet-logoIf you know the play well, or have seen other productions, you will certainly notice a couple of things missing or changed in our version–over and above the material cut according to the criteria given in Dramaturgy part 1.

  1.  Shakespeare calls for a “Chorus” to speak the opening speech. But he abandons that convention after the first act and Chorus disappears. With another tip of the hat to Larry Life’s 1976 production, I severely edited the prologue and gave the lines to Friar Lawrence, who also ends the play. (The final quatrain in Shakespeare’s version is spoken by the Prince. But I find it more emotionally satisfying coming from the Friar.)

2. The Capulet servant in Act I, Scene 1 is supposed to be called Samson.  But he (and Gregory) disappear, never to be seen again. However, Peter has a recurring small role as the clownish, illiterate servant, following the Nurse around, delivering invitations for Capulet, etc.  And in the scene in which Mercutio teases the Nurse, Peter protests that he is always ready to fight “if the law be on my side”…which was a primary concern for the servant in Scene 1. Convinced therefore, that Samson is actually Peter, I made the change.

tybalt-and-romeo3.  Regarding swords:  renting swords was remarkably easy–especially because our friends at Fire & Light had just done The Three Musketeers and had exactly what we needed! We transferred their rental agreement with weaponsofchoice.com to afO. However, sword sheaths are very tricky to fit and expensive to rent. We ended up just having the actors tuck their swords into belts. This is fine as long as the actor can keep a hand on the hilt in order to keep the sword from sticking out behind and potentially stabbing an audience member.  Therefore, though most actors should have been carrying weapons most of the time, we limited to absolute need.

I did not want Romeo carrying a sword at his wedding. He goes directly from there to the fight with Tybalt, so we solved it this way: Continue reading