current set coming to a close, Plan -B has put on what some are calling one of
its best seasons. But before the curtain goes down for five months the group
has one last performance to give, and what a show it will be.
--- “And The Banned Slammed On” will take two prior concepts featured by the company, meshing them together, and putting them on for a one-night showing this coming Saturday. With both the unknown and the unpredictable looming in the air, anyone who has a ticket is pretty much guaranteed a unique experience. I got to chat with Jerry Rapier again as he was in the midst of preparing for the play.
Gavin: Hey Jerry, how have things been since we last chatted?
Jerry: Things are great with Plan-B - all three plays this season - all by Matthew Ivan Bennett - enjoyed sold-out runs!
Gavin: Let's start off with SLAM. Where did the idea come from for the format of it?
Jerry: We totally stole it from a theatre in the
Gavin: How do you pick and choose the directors and writers for the project?
Jerry: I keep an eye out all year for people that might be a good fit for this event. Ideally we have a mix of newbies and people who've been through it before.
Gavin: What's the process like from start to finish for it?
Jerry: The evening before the event, we meet with the playwrights, assign them a cast and title, and let them see the production elements they have to work with. This year, we'll also assign them an instance of censorship that's taken place in
Gavin: How has it played off to audiences over the years?
Jerry: All five years of SLAM the show was sold out. The feedback has always been positive. Even when one of the plays is crap the audience is right there with us - I think the audience shares the same adrenalin rush the actors onstage are experiencing!
Gavin: Going to the other side of it, where did the idea for BANNED come from?
Jerry: In early 2003, we realized our company was in need of an annual fundraising event. But we didn't want to do something predictable or ordinary. So we hit on this idea of having local luminaries reading excerpts from banned literature, altering with performances by actors. We wanted it to be an event clearly tied to our mission as a theatre company.
Gavin: How do you go about choosing the specific songs and scenes for each performance?
Jerry: We added music the third year. Both with music and literature, I would research all year long to find pieces that fit together. And fairly regularly people who enjoyed the event would share information with me. Then it was just a matter of whittling it down to show-length. Sadly, there's never been a shortage of material.
Gavin: If you were to size up both of these performances, how would you compare the two against each other in terms of experiences and audience?
Jerry: Since both events have been part of our season subscription, about half of the audience each year is the same for both events. However, there are a lot of people who just come to one or the other each year so I'm excited to see how they feel about our conjoined event!
Gavin: Why did you decide to combined both of them for a one-shot night this year?
Jerry: To keep either event from getting too predictable or lame.
Gavin: How did you go about choosing this year's participants?
Jerry: I started with inviting everyone who'd acted for us this season. And there are some people that have had an open invitation to participate in SLAM. And I wanted to have all female directors, which we've done several times. Doug Fabrizio and Bill Allred both have a long history with AND THE BANNED PLAYED ON so I was glad they were available to host again.
Gavin: What exactly will Bill, Doug and Terry be doing for this show?
Jerry: Bill and Doug will be setting up the evening, sharing 9 instances of
Gavin: Can you give us a hint yet as to what we'll see this year, or is it still up in the air?
Jerry: Following Bill, Doug and Terry, you'll see the world premiere of five 10-minute plays inspired by incidents of
Gavin: A little on Plan-B, you already have the next season planned out. What's can we expect to see next year?
Jerry: Three world premieres by
Gavin: Aside from the obvious, is there anything else you'd like to plug or promote?
Jerry: Our 2009/10 season information will be online on May 31st.