So, Lola, what made you want to write Forest Play?
Forest Play has developed out of a collective decision to work on theater for children. A lot of us in the Company now have children or are around other Lab Members’ children enough to see how naturally interested kids are in theater. I take my children to so much theater in the city and I started thinking “why are we not developing an arm of this at Lab?” It just seemed like a natural thing to start to explore. I would also say that it is less something I (and Kostas Anagnopoulos) wrote in a traditional sense and more of something we are reaching to develop as a growing entity. We are just shepherding an idea and having the Company Members add to the mix. What we wrote on the page is nothing compared to what gets thrown around in a rehearsal room and really comes alive as actors play off one another.
Sounds fun! What’s it about?
The main theme we decided to explore is empathy. In an abstract way, I think. The basic story line is – two children tell stories to one another and take their story telling and imagination to heights creating a play, which they act out, turning into reality. They’re lost in a forest and meet various creatures/characters who lead them through their journey of finding home while listening to and helping others. It’s a pretty universal theme – it’s in a lot of plays I have seen with my children – Narnia, Wizard of Oz, Alice and Wonderland …
The greats! Who are our heroes in the play?
Anytime there are gypsies, I place my money on them – my kind of heroes.
Hmm … does that mean you’ve gotten lost in the forest before?
No … although, I once fell asleep on the train very late at night and woke up deep in the Bronx. I imagine getting lost in the forest might feel a bit like that.
Probably. Okay, last question – what should audience members – young and old – be looking forward to on Saturday?
A very high caliber of actors going really big into characters. That’s always pretty fun to watch, the commitment to large choices. I particularly like that there is never a moment the play, the cast, the feeling is talking down to children. We are just putting together a show, we are workshopping like any other play- just this time, the target audience happens to be kids. The imagination and ideas we are challenging are pretty universal; be true to yourself, help your fellow person, etc.
Good lessons to learn. Thanks, Lola.
Featuring Maggie Bofill, Scott Hudson, Angela Lewis, Richard Petrocelli
Neil Tyrone Pritchard, and Elizabeth Rodriguez.
December 15 at 1pm
at the Bank Street Theater
155 Bank Street NYC