It is a truism that “the audience is part of the event,” that our engagement with the production adds to and actually serves to morph the product. This is particularly true with events such as the Oct. 14th and 15th staged reading of Chilean playwright Ramón Griffero’s Your Desires in Fragments, translated by Adam Versényi and presented by The Process Series of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Department of Communications, in partnership with UNC’s Teatro Latina/o and the UNC Latina/o Studies Program, in the university’s Swain Hall.
The central character of this work, like the central character in all of our lives, is “You,” played by Andres Alcala. The character seems to be on his deathbed, trying desperately to communicate with the attending nurse and slipping into memories of poignant moments of his life.
Stage directions (read by Simon Wolf) give the impression that we are visiting a museum in You’s mind. Alcala’s manner (and mannerisms) instantly made us comfortable, inviting us to share You’s memories and musings.
You has conversations with people that he remembers, such as She (Kathleen Sara Castaldi), One (Elisabeth Lewis Corley), He (Myles Bullock), and That One (Rishan Dhamija). These conversations are often very intimate and very personal memories. While these memories are specific to this character, most of the scenes generated by them easily touch chords in our own memories, thereby offering a bridge between our own experiences and those of this play’s central character.
By its very nature, a staged reading is a bare-bones experience of a script. The actors’ voices did breathe life into the words, but we felt that Stage Two (the discussion) was the more satisfying segment of this evening. We look forward, however, to a fully fleshed out production of this work.
The Process Series’ next production will be The Black Pioneers Project, presented in partnership with UNC’s Southern Oral History Program, on Nov. 4th and 5th at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.
From The Process Series website:
“Dedicated to the development of new and significant works in the performing arts, The Process Series features professionally mounted, developmental presentations of new works in progress. The mission of the Series is to illuminate the ways in which artistic ideas take form, to examine the creative process, to offer audiences the opportunity to follow artists and performers as they explore and discover and by so doing to enrich the development process for artists with the ultimate goal of better art and a closer relationship between artists and audiences.”
Note: In years gone by, theaters such as PlayMakers Repertory Company and Raleigh Ensemble Players offered an “audience discussion night,” on which interested audience members were invited to stay after the performance for a question-and-answer session. Adam Versényi led these discussions at PRC. We found Friday night’s discussion to be a pleasant reminder of those nights.
YOUR DESIRES IN FRAGMENTS (The Process Series and Teatro Latina/o, Oct. 14 and 15 in Swain Hall on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.
2016-17 PROCESS SERIES SEASON: http://www.processseries.unc.edu/mainstage-season.
Teatro Latina/o: http://lsp.unc.edu/speakers-series/teatro-latinao/.
UNC Latina/o Studies Program: http://lsp.unc.edu/. VENUE: http://comm.unc.edu/undergraduate-studies/swain-lab-info/.
Adam Versényi (translator, chair of the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Dramatic Art, and dramaturg for PlayMakers Repertory Company): http://drama.unc.edu/adam-versenyi/ (UNC Department of Dramatic Art bio), https://playmakersrep.org/artists/adam-versenyi/ (PlayMakers Rep bio), and https://www.facebook.com/glideradam (Facebook page).
[RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.