By Ed Sobel, Associate Artistic Director
At the end of my last posting on season planning, I noted that despite the fact that we had announced our season, sometimes that is not the end of the process. Such is the case this year.
You’ll see that we have in fact had a change in our plans, and will be producing A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O’Neill, rather than Orlando by Sarah Ruhl.
This kind of change is not uncommon in the field, although we try to keep it as rare as possible. Changes occur for a variety of reasons: a central artist withdraws from the project (usually because of a better paying job offer), an expected source of funding fails to materialize, performance rights agreed to in principal but not yet formally signed are withdrawn by the licensor because of a more lucrative or higher profile offer for production (or exploitation in other media like film or tv) that demands exclusivity, the early part of the planning process for a production reveals a greater demand for resources than was originally anticipated (“I know I agreed to do The Tempest with 8 actors, but I really can’t do it with less than 12!”), a new play has not had sufficient time to undergo anticipated revisions or the development it needed.
Sometimes it is combination of several of these, any one of which might be overcome individually, but when taken together make it clear this is simply not the right time to follow the original plan out of stubbornness. Our primary obligation is to make the best possible art we can, and we remind ourselves, as Emerson put it, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
Sometimes all this happens rather late, leaving a theater scrambling to fill the gap. (I received a call from a staff member at another theater just this morning, looking for suggestions to replace a play that had just fallen out of their season.) Fortunately, in our case, O’Neill’s marvelous and deeply moving play has been on our short list for several years running. And to further our good fortune, the director and set of actors whom we most wanted for the project were all available at the same time. So while it is a shame to not have Sarah’s voice on our season this coming year, the opportunity to instead offer one of the most glorious and challenging roles for an actress in the canon of American dramatic literature is tremendously exciting.
And now we begin, over the next few months, planning for 2011-12.