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The Peccadillo Theater Company is the resident company of Theatre at St. Clements, a beautiful 160 seat space on 46th Street in the heart of Manhattan. I interviewed Artistic Director, Dan Wackerman, and we talked about their mission to bring classic American theater from the Golden Age of theater, the era of the “well-made play” to the stage.
There are economic challenges involved in bringing period plays with exceptionally large casts to the stage. (Most modern plays are written with 6 or fewer characters; playwrights like myself know that if you can tell a great story with fewer actors, your chances of getting the play done regionally are better. This is not necessarily the case for schools and universities where those institutions are interested in giving a lot of students the opportunity to perform.)
I loved Dan’s quote about how the church half of this organization views theater as a “kind of sacrament.” Loved that. (6:05)
Enjoy my talk with Dan, and for more information about this great company, go to the website: www.thepeccadillo.com. (Designed and maintained by yours truly.)
If you you would like to see the reading of Clifford Odets’ Rocket to the Moon mentioned at the end of the interview, go here for tickets. And please keep you eye on the website for William Inge’s A Loss of Roses. Previews begin May 7th, 2014.
Topics covered in the interview:
- Intro (0:00)
- Colder winters in New York (2:20)
- History of Theater at St. Clements and its place in the Off Off Broadway movement (3:08)
- How Dan got the theater bug (7:26)
- The Golden Age of American Theater – “era of the well-made play” (10:48)
- 20 years ago — the first play — O’Neill’s Strange Interlude (12:15)
- The Silver Cord by Sidney Howard is revisted (14:10)
- How Dan finds these plays, American gems (15:26)
- Counsellor at Law, the challenge of working with period plays, large casts (19:07)
- Another Part of the Forest by Lillian Hellman (20:47)
- What’s the purpose of theater? (23:53)
- What’s the job of the director? Casting is 75% of the job. (27:10)
- Some new plays in the classic style, opening up the mission (32:53)
- The future, A Loss of Roses by William Inge (34:44)
- Auditions from the other side of the table (35:51)
As usual my buddy Sal Clemente (of Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra) who wrote the podcast theme song, “Here We Go Again,” plays us out.