By Amanda Heisey, Marketing Director
The new Sidebar Series, held in The Players Studio Black Box continues with the riveting piece, Winter Flowers, by Lily Rusek. Running Oct. 20-29, this production covers some heavy material. As part of our Sidebar Series, we strive to offer valuable community engagement. For the Winter Flowers production, we welcome our newest community partner, the Senior Friendship Center. Immediately after each performance, audience members will be introduced to various information, resources, and programs throughout the Senior Friendship Center and beyond. Learn more about this show from director Jalex Scott, then head over and reserve your seats, space is limited.
Amanda: Could you please give me an elevator pitch of Winter Flowers.
Jalex: This is a story about two sisters who have nothing but each other and their family home, and they are on the verge of losing both. Delphie has spent sixty years taking care of her sister, Rosie, who is developmentally disabled. However, Delphie has found herself in a position where she can no longer physically handle the task.
A: In your mind, why is it important? Why are we telling this story right now?
J: The story of Winter Flowers is universal and timeless. We all know that loving someone, although wonderful, comes with a certain level of responsibility and commitment. Those unfortunate among us know the pain associated with not being able to fulfill that commitment.
A: What’s your concept for the show?
J: When approaching Winter Flowers, I wanted to focus on the dichotomy of the story. There is such joy in how much these characters love each other, yet such tragedy in how codependent they both are. This dichotomy is matched in the bright colors of the set being worn down and tarnished by time and the presence of new flowers overrunning an aged porch.
A: Is it difficult to work on a production that is not as well known?
J: On the contrary, it’s a dream! Sometimes with a well-known piece, there is pressure to honor past productions in your concept. When working with a script that has had limited productions, there is such a larger opportunity to create and build a show from the ground up without any influence.
A: What has been your favorite part of working on this production?
J: There have been so many highlights. My favorite thing about this production, though, is working with a wonderful group of humans. My actors, Jill and Meredith, as well as my stage manager, Diane. They are all extremely hard workers and wonderful human beings. I have enjoyed the time we’ve spent bonding over this beautiful story.
A: What has been the most challenging part?
J: I would say the biggest difficulty has been approaching the subject matter with care. My goal from the beginning has been to tackle the subject matter of death and regret in a way that is authentic and honors the people who experience these very real issues in their everyday lives. Furthermore, in crafting, with the actor, a character who is neurodivergent, it is important to me that we treat her as we would any other character and that we acknowledge and honor the intricacies and distinctions in how the neurodivergent mind works.
A: In your opinion, why is live theatre so important?
J: Live theatre is a tool that can be used to successfully accomplish a number of tasks. A good live production can lift your spirits, leave you humming, confront you, empower you, and even inspire change. There is a magic in being so close to the action of a story. The television screen detaches us from the lessons and creates a barrier from the emotions. With live theatre, you cannot pause. You must keep moving forward and learning.
A: Tell the community why they should come see the show.
J: This show is bound to move even the most impassive audience members. The actors have put in a heroic amount of effort to breathe life into an already poetic script. You won’t want to miss this beautiful piece of theatre.
A: Tell the community why they should get involved with The Players.
J: The Players is truly a theatre for the community. As the populace evolves around them, The Players evolves, telling more and more new stories that reflect the culture around them. The Players sees the world changing and chooses to change along with it. Everyone is welcome and everyone is appreciated.
A: Give me three words that describe The Players.
J: Innovative. Resilient. Dynamic.