Founding Artistic Director and Gallatin alumnus Scott Elliot brought his esteemed non-profit professional theater company to Gallatin last week in an experimental workshop for students and alumni at the Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts. Aspiring actors, directors, playwrights and dramaturges were invited to see the process by which two original works are developed for the New Group stage: Burning by Thomas Bradshaw and Russian Transport by Erika Sheffer.
The idea for this collaboration stemmed from talks between Elliot and Gallatin Dean Susanne Wofford. Last week’s goals were twofold, reflecting Gallatin’s unique educational philosophy: for Gallatin students to experience the inner workings of the early play production process and for Gallatin students to enrich The New Group’s creative process, from reading stage directions to providing constructive feedback and ideas.
Burning, which will premiere in January, examines the intersecting lives of two ambitious and sexually provocative characters: a black American painter whose work is misinterpreted by Nazi sympathizers in Germany and a 14-year-old boy whose dream of becoming an actor puts him in the care of a gay couple in the New York theater world.
The world premiere of Russian Transport, a family psychodrama about a Russian-Jewish immigrant couple, their assimilated children and a mysterious Uncle Boris, is set to open this October. Both plays are under the direction of Elliot, along with Associate Artistic Director Ian Morgan and Assistant Director Marie Masters.
Last week’s partnership may only be the beginning. Plans are already underway to extend this small-scale experiment into a three- to four-week, credit-bearing summer session.
For more information about these and other plays performed at The New Group, please visit the theater's official Web site.