During our talk backs you've gotten to ask questions to David Saint, an actor or two, or the guest director on a production. This season, audiences were treated to discussions with Jack Klugman, Paul Dooley, Rosemary Harris, Frank Dunlop, Matthew Arkin, and today...the ENTIRE CAST of Roger is Dead, led by the fascinating Marlo Thomas. In all, it was one of those moments, (and I'm not just saying this because I happen to work for George Street Playhouse), where you sit and want to pinch yourself in disbelief that you are part of the experience.
Today was our Sunday Symposium, a regular discussion about the play with the creative team and cast members that we offer with each production. It differs in a lot of ways from our talk-backs with the audience during the preview period, and today was no exception. Discussing a new piece like Roger is Dead is a rare opportunity for the audience. It's a chance to ask the actors questions about their characters, plot points, and sometimes observations that were unclear.
During previews, discussions were led by Artistic Director David Saint. He discussed how the show came to GSP, the process it had gone through before production, and answered questions from the audience. Elaine May, the show's director, was unable to take part due to a note session with the cast based on the performance.
Today however, the entire cast participated in the discussion, led by Director of Education, Danny Tamez. In a rare Q&A with the entire cast, the audience discussed nearly every topic the play addresses; from historical figures, the state of youth education, Carla's marriage as it relates to reality, Elaine May's career, and the relation between the working class and the privileged. Marlo Thomas noted in the discussion, "at first I thought,' why did Elaine want me to play this role? Then as I read it, I was attracted by all the layers it had."
One audience member pointed out how the character of Michael was unclear to him and perhaps even somewhat under-developed. Mark Blum, who plays Michael, noted that as an actor, “you fill in the blanks to try and make it clearer for the audience. I agree with you," he said to the audience.
In taking questions, Ms. Thomas pointed out that each person's experience watching the play was different, and reflected on particular highlights she felt were important.
In a candid moment, Thomas also revealed a similarity between her marriage with Phil Donahue, and the marriage between the characters of Roger and Doreen, in the play. "Many years ago, my husband and I were on a Hawaiian vacation....very in love and newly married." Walking along the beach they noticed a "wrinkly old woman" and Thomas said, "Phil, will you still love me when I look like that." He turned to her said, "it depends what I look like."
When asked what the next step might be, Thomas replied "well we'd like to bring into New York." Gushing, one audience member said, "I LOVED IT! I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST!"
In all, it was a truly remarkable way to end a star-studded season.
Have a question about Roger is Dead? WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Post your comments on this blog! For a schedule of future Sunday Symposiums please visit our website after our season announcement.