Theater in the Mountains

July 23, 2015 / by Annie Tippe, Fall Directing Fellow


Hello all! My name is Annie Tippe, and this is my first post as a Drama League Fall Directing Fellow.

   I write to you from Mt. Tremper Arts in the Catskill Mountains in New York. Mt. Tremper is an amazing retreat for artists looking to develop their work in a fresh no-nonsense environment. Not only do you have the pleasure of being surrounded by mountains, creeks and amazing food, but you have TIME to spend on your work. Time, the thing we are all desperately trying to find in NYC between jobs and shows and life in general. It's a real privilege to be here, and I couldn't be happier than to spend the week working on a late night fire-pit rendition of Dave Malloy's "Ghost Quartet". The thrill and terror of an outdoor fire-pit concert is that if it rains, you have to pack up a number of very expensive instruments and electronics in about thirty seconds. But of course, the pay-off of an outdoor fire-pit concert is that the end of your show can roll directly into marshmallow roasting. I have my priorities straightened out.
I had the pleasure of directing "Ghost Quartet" back in the fall when it went up at the Bushwick Starr, and again when it transferred to the McKittrick for a spring run. This show has brought me endless joy as an artist and expanded my ideas about what makes a full theater experience for an audience. Over the course of next year, we will tour a few more locations across the country, and each production requires some reimagining. I directed the show to play to 80 audience members when we started, and some of the venues we will hit have up to 300 audience members they are looking to accommodate. The show thrives in an intimate setting, so the designer, Christopher Bowser and I are looking for ways to bolster that intimacy even as we expand the ground plan. This is my first time putting a piece before an audience of 300 people, so I am hoping we can find a way to give every audience member a unique experience.
I am so thrilled to start the Drama League program this August, and particularly excited to be assisting Lila Neugebauer and Moritz Von Stuelpnagel, two directors I really admire. But for now, I am stuffing my face with marshmallows and enjoying the last few days of outdoor bliss!