The County Prep Theatre Arts vocation students attended the Broadway Production of True West, written by celebrated American playwright Sam Shepard, with Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano, a play under the direction of James Macdonald, performed at the American Airlines Theatre venue of The Roundabout Theatre.
This play plunges the audience into the tension and turmoil of the relationship between feuding brothers. At the beginning of the play, the two brothers could not be more different, Austin (played by Paul Dano) is an established playwright, a family man, responsible, who seems to have it all together, while Lee (played by Ethan Hawke), is a drunkard, outcast, a man who seems to have given up on satisfying society’s expectations of him. By the end of the play though, we realize the two have a lot more in common than we think, and in an unexpected twist of event the relationship between the two flip-flops.
The students also attended Theatre Re’s production of The Nature of Forgetting at the New Victory Theatre, a gem of a play, an example of both physical theatre and devised theatre. The play is about the past beginning to dissolve for Tom, a father experiencing early onset dementia, when happy childhood moments collide with momentous adult milestones in tangled threads of memory. Through intricate choreography and a cinematic live musical score, London-based Theatre Re creates a compellingly powerful narrative of heartwarming humanity that moves you to places where words cannot. At the intersection of art and science, Theatre Re and director Guillaume Pigé collaborated with British neuroscientist Kate Jeffery to examine the fragility of life in a captivating style embracing mime, theater, and live music. The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) produced this play, in an effort to promote French artists in the US.
Our students thoroughly enjoyed both plays, and they loved the versatility of all the actors. More importantly they enjoyed the truly human portrayal of the characters, evident in every single performance. Some left the theatre pondering about their own relationships with their siblings, some left thinking of how choices and decisions affect one’s life. Others were moved to tears, being reminded of how touching theatre can and should be.
The students also participated in question and answer sessions with the actors, which they found fascinating and inspiring. “Overall, this has been a very enriching experience and we are looking forward to more collaboration with the Roundabout Theatre and the FIAF in the near future,” says Raluca Shields, the Theatre Arts teacher at Country Prep.