ENSEMBLE

created and produced by Theater Reconstruction Ensemble

after Booth Tarkington and Orson Welles

conceived and staged by John Kurzynowski

 

Performers: Meg MacCaryNikolai Mishler, Marielle Young

Production Design: Marika Kent

Sound Design: John Kurzynowski


SYNOPSIS

Artists copy one another, whether it be in the repetition of plots or the mimicking of styles. Copying can be viewed as a form of adaptation - one that allows for a process of transformation to take place between the product of one artistic practice into that of another. But how does this practice of copying affect the eventual adaptation? And can the copy ever be as sharply drawn as the original?

"copy"  noun \ ˈkä-pē

  • an imitation, transcript, or reproduction of an original work (such as a letter, a painting, a table, or a dress)
  • one of a series of especially mechanical reproductions of an original impression; also an individual example of such a reproduction

an excerpt from the 1918 Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington:

  • Major Amberson had "made a fortune" in 1878, when other people were losing fortunes, and the magnificence of the Ambersons began then. Magnificence, like the size of a fortune, is always comparative, as even Magnificent Lorenzo may now perceive, if he has happened to haunt New York in 1916; and the Ambersons were magnificent in their day and place. Their splendour lasted throughout all the years that saw their Midland town spread and darken into a city, but reached its topmost during the period when every prosperous family with children kept a Newfoundland dog.

    In that town, in those days, all the women who wore silk or velvet knew all the other women who wore silk or velvet, and when there was a new purchase of sealskin, sick people were got to windows to see it go by. Trotters were out, in the winter afternoons, racing light sleighs on National Avenue and Tennessee Street; everybody recognized both the trotters and the drivers; and again knew them as well on summer evenings, when slim buggies whizzed by in renewals of the snow-time rivalry. For that matter, everybody knew everybody else’s family horse-and-carriage, could identify such a silhouette half a mile down the street, and thereby was sure who was going to market, or to a reception, or coming home from office or store to noon dinner or evening supper.

an excerpt from the infamous 1942 film adaptation of The Magnificent Ambersons by Orson Welles:

  • NARRATOR'S VOICE:  The magnificence of the Ambersons began in 1873.

    FADE IN on a dark screen.

    IRIS INTO: (1885) A house on a period street with a white picket fence. On the sidewalk, two ladies dressed in silk and velvet are passing three ladies dressed in silk and velvet. They greet each other.

    NARRATOR'S VOICE:  Their splendor lasted throughout all the years that saw their Midland town spread and darken into a city. In that town in those days, all the women who wore silk or velvet knew all the other women who wore silk or velvet - and everybody knew everybody else's family horse-and-carriage.

    A horse-and-carriage enters in the f.g., on right side of the screen, and as it crosses the occupants, dressed in silk and velvet, wave to the ladies on the street – and the ladies wave back to the occupants.


photos by Craig Mungavin


response

When artists present work that is entirely in and of their element, it is a testament to the artist at the helm. John provided a wonderful, thorough and thought-provoking playspace for the ‘Cc: FANNY!’ creative team, and their delight as they shared a glimpse into their process begat my delight watching them.
— Jaclyn Backhaus, playwright and co-director of Fresh Ground Pepper