By Adam Koplan, Artistic Director of The Flying Carpet Theatre Co.
Much like technology companies invest in promising ideas, theatre companies engage in research and development. Staged readings are one of our methods of fostering new work, and this month, we are supporting a reading of a charming new musical, The Unfortunate Squirrel, by Sonya Sobieski.
My enthusiasm for the theatrical development process dates back to my post-college course at L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, where I studied physical theatre. My relatives chuckled that I had gone to “French clown school” (they thought I was aspiring be the next Jerry Lewis), but in fact, Lecoq’s vision of theater was much more expansive. Describing the rehearsal process as a “laboratory,” he approached it as a state of open-ended inquiry that often began with a group of actors improvising and refining ideas in a studio.
After returning to New York City as an assistant director at Playwrights Horizons, I first got to know Sonya Sobieski. As the theatre’s literary manager, Sonya introduced me to the ways institutional theatres support new work—from commissions that sustain a playwright’s writing process, to generous preview periods that allow revisions during a run with live audiences.
Sonya, in addition to being a wonderful advocate for writers, is a talented playwright herself and has moved on from Playwrights Horizons to become a fulltime writer. I’m pleased that Flying Carpet is able to support Sonya with a staged reading, an event whose utility she helped me to understand. Actors bring plays to life, so before an author has a “production ready” draft, it is invaluable to hear a well-performed version in the middle of the writing process and get feedback from a live audience. Please join us for the reading on May 25 at 4pm at Ripley Griers in Manhattan.
Other Flying Carpet R&D News: FCT regulars are collaborating on a piece about Ponzi schemes that satirizes the seductive power of PowerPoint. It’sThe Office meets Bernie Madoff meets the PowerPoint presentation you probably just had to sit through at your own workplace. This new work should be ready for a reading in November and a run in 2012.
One of the most important parts of our R & D process is you. Your participation, as our patrons, at our readings or symposia helps us to see what elements most resonate with audience. We relish your feedback! As always, thanks so much. I look forward to seeing you soon at the theatre, rehearsal space or lecture hall!