Looking Behind the Curtain
A Digital Series
Hosted by CSC Associate Artistic Director Bryn Boice
In anticipation of the summer 2021 production of The Tempest on Boston Common, Tempest Talks give audience members the opportunity to get a unique look at the play itself and a peek behind the scenes with the creative team that is working to bring the play to life. The series focuses on the various elements that come together to put a great production on the stage: direction, design, performance.
The series begins in March and includes one event per month. Events are free of charge, but advance registration is required and a donation of $10 per event is suggested. Dates, topics, and speakers subject to change.
“The Elements of Design,” with designers Nancy Leary and Jeffrey Peterson, May 6 6:00 p.m.
They are both members of the design team responsible for the stunning costumes and sets for this and previous CSC productions. In particular, we’ll explore how the entire design team comes together to bring all the elements of design — sets, costumes, sound, lighting — into one seamless vision.
“Access for All,” with CSC Accessibility Advocate Christopher Robinson, June 3 6:00 p.m.
Christopher Robinson and members of the team that works with ASL, audio describing, and other techniques to ensure that our productions really are accessible to everyone. We’ll explore how these talented performers prepare for their roles and learn how to interpret Shakespeare’s complex language.
“Prospero’s World,” with John Douglas Thompson, July 8, 6:00 p.m.
We’ll look at how he approaches building the character of Prospero, how he works with the director, and how relationships are built with the entire cast. We’ll be able to get a peek behind the scenes of the ongoing rehearsal process, and insights into his process for bringing this extraordinarily complex character to life on stage.
Past Events in this Series:
“The Director’s Vision” with CSC Artistic Director Steven Maler, March 4 at 6:00 p.m.
He will give an overview of The Tempest and how he approaches play selection for CSC. This play was chosen several years ago to be the showcase for CSC’s 25th production, but had to be postponed from 2020 to 2021 because of the pandemic. How has his view of the play evolved in light of all the changes that have occurred in the past year?
“Comic Relief,” with John Kuntz and Fred Sullivan, Jr. April 1 6:00 p.m.
Two of our audience’s favorite comedic actors. In honor of April Fool’s Day, they’ll be talking about the role of comedy in Shakespeare and the work they do to interpret the text for contemporary audiences. They will also give us insights into the process of collaboration among actors as they prepare for their roles.
Bryn Boice is an award-winning director, actor, educator and producer. Recent work includes: Universe Rushing Apart: Blue Kettle & Here We Go, two one-act plays by Caryl Churchill for CSC (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Director, Large Theater); Admissions by Joshua Harmon (The Gamm Theatre, Providence); The Children by Lucy Kirkwood (Speakeasy Stage); an all-female production of Julius Caesar for Actors’ Shakespeare Project, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (CSC2). New York and Regional credits as actor and/or director include work with Asolo Repertory Company, Boston Playwrights’ Theater, InProximity Theatre Company, Theatre Row, Rebellious Subjects, Monomoy Theatre, Caroline’s on Broadway, and Manhattan Theatre Club. Bryn holds an MFA in Directing from Boston University and an MFA in Acting from the Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training (FSU). Proud member of Actor’s Equity Association since 2002. She currently teaches at Salem State University (Acting III, Voice for the Actor, Applied Movement, Directing, among others. www.brynboice.com
Jenna Worden is delighted to return to CSC, where she works most often as a Stage Manager. Favorite CSC credits include Birdy, Universe Rushing Apart, and Our American Hamlet. Jenna also works with Brian O’Donovan to present both A Christmas Celtic Sojourn and The Rockport Celtic Festival. Additional regional credits include New Rep Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, Phoenix Theatre, and Childsplay AZ. She earned both her BA in Theatre Studies and BSEd in History from Northern Arizona University, and is constantly looking for new ways to teach and be in conversation with the past. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Steven Maler is the Founding Artistic Director of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC). At CSC he has been directing Free Shakespeare on the Boston Common productions since 1996, including Love’s Labour’s Lost, King Lear, Twelfth Night, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Coriolanus, All’s Well That Ends Well, Othello, The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, Henry V, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, and Romeo & Juliet. In collaboration with Boston Landmarks Orchestra, he directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring the Overture and Incidental Music of Felix Mendelssohn, as well as concert stagings of The Boys from Syracuse and Kiss Me, Kate at Boston’s iconic Hatch Shell.
In a joint venture between CSC and Google, he most recently directed a Virtual Reality adaption of Hamlet entitled Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit, which is currently available for viewing on Boston public media producer WGBH’s YouTube channel.
Other CSC works include the critically acclaimed production of Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden, the world premiere of Jake Broder’s Our American Hamlet, and the world premiere of Robert Brustein’s The Last Will. He directed Peter Eötvös’s operatic treatment of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America (U.S. Premiere) and Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face, The Turn of the Screw at New Repertory Theatre, Santaland Diaries and Chay Yew’s Porcelain at SpeakEasy Stage Company, Top Girls and Weldon Rising at Coyote Theatre, and The L.A. Plays by Han Ong at A.R.T. His New York City credits include the New York Musical Theatre Festival production of Without You, written by and starring Anthony Rapp. The production has been seen in Boston, Edinburgh, Toronto, London and Seoul.
He received the Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence as well as for Best Production, Twelfth Night; Outstanding Director, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Best Production, Suburbia; Best Solo Performance, John Kuntz’s Starf***ers (which also won Best Solo Performance Award at New York International Fringe Festival).
His feature film “The Autumn Heart”, starring Tyne Daly and Ally Sheedy, was in the Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival.
John Kuntz has appeared with CSC previously in Henry V, Hamlet and Twelfth Night. He is the author of over 15 full-length plays including Necessary Monsters, The Hotel Nepenthe, Starfuckers and The Salt Girl. As an actor, he has appeared with The Huntington, ART, Speakeasy and many others. He is the recipient of five Elliot Norton Awards, two IRNE Awards, a New York International Fringe Festival Award and a 2015 MCC Fellowship Award in Dramatic Writing. He is a lecturer in Theatre, Dance and Media at Harvard University, an Associate Professor at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and is the Artistic Director of The Derrah Theatre Lab.
Nancy Leary is a Costume Designer who’s visionary work for Opera and Theater has graced stages across the United States. Experienced in producing both highly conceptual and more traditional models of Opera and Theater costuming, Nancy has successfully applied her expertise to a wide array of theatrical styles and artistic endeavors. From 2000 to the present Nancy has worked on well-established productions, recently developed pieces, and the premier of new works for such places as; Opéra Royal Château de Versailles, Glimmerglass Festival, The Pittsburg Symphony, Virginia Opera, Utah Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Saratoga, Mannes Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Mobile Opera, Juilliard Opera, Opera Boston, as well as Commonwealth Shakespeare Co.mpany, Westin Playhouse, The Julie Harris Theatre, The Barrow Group Theatre, and New York Live Arts to name a few.
Jeffrey Petersen returns to CSC after designing last season’s Stage2 production of Romeo and Juliet and after assisting Clint Ramos on the recent productions of Birdy and Death and the Maiden. Recent New England design credits include: Maria Regina d’Inghlterra (Odyssey Opera) Mary Stuart, Everyman (NEU) Barefoo
Christopher Robinson (Prospero/Sebastian/Stephano standby) works at Boston University’s Office of Disability & Access Services and also serves on the Board of Directors of StageSource (stagesource.com) For over a decade he has coordinated Accessibility Services or appeared as an ASL Interpreter for CSC’s productions on the Common. He has worked as an ASL/English interpreter for several Huntington Theatre Company’s productions of August Wilson’s Century Cycle, among other dramatic productions. He worked as a Shadow Interpreter for the Craig Lucas’ play, I Was Most Alive With You, a Huntington Theatre production. Regional Theatre Interpreting venues: Wheelock Family Theatre; Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Seattle Rep; American Repertory Theatre; BCAP at Boston University.
John Douglas Thompson Lauded by critics, John Douglas Thompson has been extolled by the New York Times “as one of the most compelling classical stage actors of his generation.” Thompson was last seen on Broadway in King Lear in the role of Earl of Kent. In 2018, he costarred in the two-time Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical Carousel. He also starred in the Huntington Theatre Company’s Man in the Ring, (Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards). In 2017, he appeared in the titular role of the American Conservatory Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet; and he co-starred in the highly publicized Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar (Caius Cassius). Thompson received rave reviews for his role as Becker in August Wilson’s Broadway play Jitney, for which he received a Tony Award nomination. Thompson’s other credits include The Father and A Doll’s House at Theater For A New Audience, and in Troilus & Cressida at The Public. Other Broadway credits include A Time To Kill, Cyrano de Bergerac with Kevin Kline, and Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington. His Off-Broadway credits include: The Iceman Cometh with Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Obie and Drama Desk Awards); Tamburlaine at Theater for a New Audience (Obie and Drama Desk Awards); Satchmo at the Waldorf (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award, and the NAACP Theatre Awards) at the Westside Theater, ACT, Wallis Center for the Performing Arts, Long Wharf Theater; King Lear with Sam Waterston at The Public Theater; Macbeth (title role); Othello (Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Joe A. Callaway Award) at Theatre for a New Audience; The Forest with Dianne Wiest at Classic Stage Company; The Emperor Jones at The Irish Repertory Theatre (Joe A. Callaway Award and Lucille Lortel, Drama League and Drama Desk nominations); and Hedda Gabler at New York Theatre Workshop. Regional credits include: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at Mark Taper Forum (Ovation Award); Antony and Cleopatra with Kate Mulgrew at Hartford Stage; Red Velvet, Othello, Richard III, King Lear, and Mother Courage with Olympia Dukakis at Shakespeare & Co.; Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train at The Wilma Theater (Barrymore Award); and productions at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Trinity Repertory Company, American Repertory Theater and Yale Repertory Theatre. Thompson’s television credits include “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, “Bull”, “Person of Interest”, “Madam Secretary”, “Law & Order”, “Law & Order: SVU”. His film credits are “Conviction”, “Wolves”, “The Bourne Legacy”, “Glass Chin”, “Michael Clayton”, “Midway”, and “Malcolm X”. Upcoming film releases include “21 Bridges” with Chadwick Boseman and Sienna Miller, “355” with Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz and Lupita Nyongo, and Steven Soderbergh’s “Let Them All Talk” with Meryl Streep, Candace Bergen, Dianne Wiest and Lucas Hedges. He is a Fox Fellow recipient; 2015 Samuel H. Scripps Award, for extraordinary commitment in promoting the power of language in classical and contemporary theatre; and a recipient of the 2013 Robert Brustein Award for sustained excellence in American theater.
Events in this series are held on Zoom and speech-to-text captioning will be available.
As with all of our programming, we encourage you to let us know about any disability-related accommodations that you need in order to participate. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your requests, or to let us know how we’re doing in our efforts to make all of our work engaging and accessible to all audiences.