Pony World’s Big Story Small at Theatre Off Jackson

May 10, 2012

Opening May 10 at Theatre Off Jackson in the ID, Pony World Theatre is presenting Big Story Small. I got to do the dramaturgy for this project and I have been super excited about it!

I thought I’d post a taste of the information I’m putting in the lobby: My introduction.

This past week, I was given the honor and privilege to be a fly on the wall for Pony World Theatre’s final rehearsals for Big Story Small 2012. As an observant fly, my purpose was to provide an outside eye in order to connect the work of the playwrights, directors, designers, and performers to you, the audience. Tonight you will experience nine new and original works, with a twist: they are all adapted from classic works. Think of it as a Reader’s Digest version of all the plays you love or meant to read but never got around to… but better. The playwrights and directors develop entirely new concepts for every piece—but how? How does one condense a full-length play into merely 10 minutes?

Every single play you will witness tonight was originally written in the 20th century (with the exception of Medea). Each one is a classic. But how do you define classic? To be a classic, the work must speak to a wide audience spanning generations of time. The message must be universal and persistent.

Medea is a story of love and loss told solely in images. Playboy of the Western World reminds us that it is okay to laugh, even when the subject may seem offensive. In State of Siege, Pony World reminds us of the dangers of losing the individual, while they worked together as a group. Rhinoceros is an experiment with form, in the style of Ionesco. Mother Courage synthesizes Brecht’s aesthetics while staying true to the story.

Waiting for Godot — about everything that happens while nothing is happening — is perfect for Big Story Small. Saint Joan too encapsulates what it means to shrink a big story into a small package through set, character development, and story structure. Ontological Proof of My Existence is the perfect example of how to extract the essence of a piece and create an experience. The Cherry Orchard also showcases how to extract an essence of a story and show it in a small package, thereby highlighting the absurdity of the central family’s tragic experience.

All of these plays are condensed, distilled, and have had their essences extracted from their cores. The playwrights, directors, and company of Pony World Theatre have worked tirelessly and professionally to produce these works. I hope you enjoy this unique experience not only as an observer but as a participant, engaging with original new work.

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