“Dying is easy, comedy is difficult” has never been more true.
Comedy is very difficult to direct, to produce, and cast. Yet comedies are the most-requested type of production.
I understand. We live in a complex and often overwhelming world, and sometimes it’s great fun to be able to leave that world behind. To escape. To laugh. To satisfy that desire, I am always on the lookout for a good comedy. Just about a year ago, many of you took part in our annual season-selection survey (I hope you will do so today) and weighed in on some of the titles I was considering for 2019–2020. The Play That Goes Wrong was selected by 90% of the respondents as something they would want to see this season.
No play or musical has ever, in the history of Pioneer Theatre, gotten as strong a response. Yay! We should do that play, I thought to myself. And so we are…doing that play. I should direct that play, I thought to myself. And so I am…. And, as it turns out, it is one of the most complex shows I have ever directed. This comedy requires better acting than the most difficult Shakespearean drama, better timing than any musical, and a design that is both specific and flexible, so as to facilitate the development of the staging. It takes quite a team to put together a comedy: designers, technicians, stage managers, and actors working in concert to get all of the parts just right. In a comedy, timing is everything.
The Play That Goes Wrong has been an ideal way to kick off my personal holiday season. It’s an ambitious undertaking, but I’m fortunate to be surrounded by an insanely talented group of artists. For a crazy artistic director, there is nothing more fulfilling.
Thank you for supporting live theatre here in Utah. Thank you for joining us for this season. If you’re not a regular here at PTC, thank you for joining us for this production. Have a very wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy New Year!
Karen Azenberg, Director