Week 2: An Exploding Treat

May 30, 2013 / by Jamila Reddy


A week in Hangar time is six week anywhere else. (As Will says, “a metaphor is not a metaphor.”) But really: it’s only Thursday into our first week at the Hangar Theatre and I already feel like we’ve been here for weeks. In a good way.

The artistic and production staff has welcomed us with open arms and somehow still trusts us to helm a season of our choosing, direct in front of a paying audience, and teach things to people. (What?!)

Our apartment overlooks the (truly gorgeous) town of Ithaca. This picture is my view every morning. It is most fitting that we’re nestled away in a beautiful corner of the world, and that we landed here simply to make theatre happen. We — in every sense of the word — have space to create. I’m the luckiest.

Despite what our first-class view would have you believe, we’re already knee-deep in work. My first project is my Wedge show (named thus because it originally took place in a small Wedge of the lobby in the Hangar theatre); a devised piece entitled “BODIES.” One of the most life-changing ideas shared with me during Professionals Week is that notion that theatre is a lot bigger than I had previously known. The boundaries are none. It doesn’t have to start with a script, it doesn’t have to end with audience sitting down in front of a stage to watch it. I am thrilled by this idea, and felt a hunger to explore it as soon as I could.

Stephanie, the Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre and one of our fearless leaders this summer, told me that my Wedge show was about answering a question I had about myself as a director.

My biggest question right now is figuring out how to mesh what I believe about the theatre in theory with what I do as director in practice.

My Wedge show will be a theatrical event, — a living museum— that explores bodies in all their mess and glory.

Our designers are fierce and imaginative, and it still feels like a dream that I have a creative team as invested in this process and this art as I am.

Shana, the Artistic Associate of the Hangar (and DL alum/ brilliant director/ teacher and overall ray of light) noted that a common through-line of all of our Wedge projects was turning the familiar on its head. [We’ve taken a familiar idea or story (two well-known french films, Midsummer Nights Dream, and the body) and are asking the audiences to imagine them in ways they hadn’t previously thought of them. “Exploding the familiar," Will said.] I am delighted that Shana shed light on that for us, because what I love most about theatre is the chance it provides to give the audience a new thought or new vocabulary— that they might leave the theatre seeing the world in a different way or asking a question they hadn’t thought to ask before.

This new vocabulary with which to understand the world is truly a gift, a treat. This summer, I feel like a kid in the candy store surrounded by treats: this gorgeous town, our fearless leaders at the Hangar, my brilliant drama league directors, our fantastic designers, and the space in which these forces combine. It is my only hope to share and give back into the world what this summer has already given to me.