Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Theatrical Archaeology

Many of us may have been waiting twenty years for the newest instalment of the Indiana Jones film franchise, but some theatre geeks have been waiting much longer to unearth some neglected and forgotten play scripts. An article in this past weekend in Canada’s ‘Globe and Mail’ talks about one such instance when Jonathan Bank, the artistic director of New York's Mint Theatre Company, arrived in Niagara-on-the-Lake clutching an envelope to chat with Shaw Festival artistic director Jackie Maxwell. She was in the midst of a hugely successful run of Githa Sowerby's Rutherford and Son, and Bank delivered exactly what she'd been searching for: one of Sowerby's missing plays, The Stepmother, never performed publicly and all but forgotten. This sowed the seeds of what Maxwell likes to call “archeological programming” – the presentation of lost, forgotten and undiscovered plays at the Shaw Festival.

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