Today we turn over our blog to Nikki Swoboda, the wonderful guest director of Reasons to be Pretty. Don’t forget, opening night is Thursday, June 2nd! And it’s going to be a night full of fun surprises!
Oooo, fancy! Guest blogging as the Guest Director! I would say it was wonderful being a guest with Renegade, but they jumped right into treating me like family, thereby ruining that whole concept … so instead I’ll say, life is good with the Renegade crew!
And life is good in rehearsal these days too, which is all any gypsy director can ask for. The cast is digging into Neil LaBute’s world of conflicting friends, careless insults, smart humor and his God-forsaken-interrupted-near-unmemorizable text. The cast is headed by Renegade favorite, Andy Bennett, who plays Greg, a good guy who has been existing in an apathetic life until he ignorantly says the wrong thing about his girlfriend and all hell breaks loose. Enter Sarah Diener, or “Didi,” as I call her (Let’s make it a thing!) as Steph, the wronged girlfriend of four years with her explosive anger and open heart. Teran Ferguson, a Northland favorite song-and-dance girl, plays Carly, the very pretty Queen Bee wife of Greg’s best friend, Kent, a REAL love-to-hate, alpha dog, type of dude, played by Renegade newbie Nick Violante. There’s cursing and hitting and deflecting and laughing and humping and hurting and healing and and growing and wrestling and break-dancing! (Er, maybe not the last one.)
But it’s real. It’s real life. I mean, I think every major fight I’ve ever gotten into with my boyfriend has come down to basic misunderstandings that happen because I’m a woman and he’s a man. So we’re different! You know, that “I know that’s what I said, but what I meant was … ” fight? Yeah, that’s what this play is about. It’s about life as our generation knows it–love as we try to live it, find it and keep it.
My last three shows have taken place in a barn. The last six have all been set between 1933 and 1954. The last fourteen have been musicals. I haven’t done a contemporary play since 2007, which was something like thirty shows ago. Now, don’t get me wrong … I love and adore a good “Let’s put a show on in a barn, put a leg up on a hay bale, fall in love at first sight and spontaneously know the same choreography as everyone else as I exit” kind of show! I really do! Ask around!
But damn, directing Reasons to be Pretty with THIS insanely talented cast at THIS wonderfully inclusive theatre feels like a gift to a jazz-hand-lady like myself. I like telling a story of today, of people living in our present circumstances with the immediate concerns that effect all of us. And we’re doing a bang-up job of it too, if I do say so myself.
So hey, what’s your reason to be pretty? Mine’s opening night. See you in two weeks!