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INTERVIEW: ‘Morrie’ is again, and able to discuss on Tuesdays


Staff member
Mar 22, 2024
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Photograph: Tuesdays With Morrie stars, from left, Len Cariou and Chris Domig. Photograph courtesy of Jeremy Varner / Offered by DARR Publicity with permission.

Tuesdays With Morrie was a publishing phenomenon when it first appeared in print from creator Mitch Albom. The ebook, which is slim and will virtually be learn in a single sitting, tells the story of Mitch and the way he reconnects with a sociology professor named Morrie, who’s battling Lou Gehrig’s Illness. Mitch decides to show the reunion right into a weekly go to. On Tuesdays, the 2 meet and talk about life, demise and all the things in between.

Together with Jeffrey Hatcher, Albom tailored his ebook for the stage, and Sea Canine Theater has determined to mount a brand new manufacturing of the present this month at St. George’s Episcopal Church in New York Metropolis. The incomparable Len Cariou (the unique Sweeney Todd) performs Morrie, and Chris Domig, the inventive director of Sea Canine Theater, portrays Mitch.

“I knew the play and the ebook,” Domig mentioned in a current cellphone interview. “I had learn it earlier than years in the past, however I picked up the play once more throughout the pandemic. And I feel the explanation I did on the time was, after all, I used to be coming to phrases with the way in which that the pandemic was affecting the aged when it comes to illness and dying. I used to be occupied with tales that had aged of us within the heart of the story, and Tuesdays With Morrie got here to thoughts. That’s why I did it, after which, after all, I used to be simply taken by the common themes of it and the significance of friendship and mentorship and reframing one’s life’s objectives the way in which that Mitch and Morrie are in that fixed dialogue.”

The core workforce for this manufacturing is small however proficient. Along with Cariou and Domig, there’s director Erwin Maas. Domig mentioned that the three constructed a “relationship basis” that allowed them to work properly with each other throughout rehearsals. Tuesdays With Morrie is definitely Cariou’s third Sea Canine present.

“After we first launched our firm seven years in the past, the second play that we did was Awake and Sing! by Clifford Odets, and I wanted somebody for Jacob,” Domig remembers. “I needed to ask Len, after which I occurred to have a pal, Erwin, who referred me to Len. And I sat down with Len for lunch, and he didn’t know me from Adam. I wasn’t somebody that had any form of business significance. I used to be only a younger man with a dream to begin an organization, and it was solely a studying I used to be doing. He handled me to lunch, and we spoke about theater. And he got here and did that studying with us, and that was the start of a friendship with Len and his spouse, Heather. Then we did one other play, Inherit the Wind, just a few years again.”

When the pandemic hit, Domig wasn’t certain if Sea Canine would proceed as a theater firm. Tuesdays With Morrie modified that outlook, and the inventive director noticed a path ahead.

“I knew I needed Erwin to direct as a result of, you realize, who doesn’t wish to be within the room with their associates and create one thing particular,” Domig mentioned. “We obtained such nice suggestions from folks and encouragement to pursue a manufacturing that we began toying with the concept, and given the truth that we’re a reasonably small firm and needed to do that in-house, we needed to supply it ourselves. It simply took a while to get it on its toes. That’s form of the relational background to how this specific undertaking got here to be and in addition how Len got here to be concerned in it.”

The fact for small theater firms like Sea Canine is that dramatic items like Tuesdays With Morrie are engaging as a result of they’re logistically and financially doable. This can be a two-hander with a restricted set, and that’s music to Domig’s ears.

“Sadly, that’s simply the fact not only for small firms, even mid-size theater firms,” he mentioned. “Sea Canine Theater is in everlasting residency at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan, and that is an outdated church with unbelievable services. However these aren’t theater areas. I do know there are church buildings which have revamped sure areas to essentially make it [work]. Like Saint Clement’s within the Broadway space is an instance that’s an Episcopal church that has really made a theater out of their essential area, however that is very a lot nonetheless an energetic parish that loves the humanities and has allowed us to be in residency right here. So after we do our readings, that’s a reasonably straightforward setup. We have now a ravishing area to do this, and we do a hospitality facet and have some meals and wine and have conversations across the performs. That’s the heartbeat of our firm, however after we go into bigger areas like we are actually, the place we’re doing it in a ravishing chapel, you’re mainly organising your individual theater area.”

Organising one’s personal theater area means Domig and firm usher in risers, chairs, lights and sound gear. That’s the drawback, however the nice benefit is that the play has a ravishing backdrop of an precise chapel. Domig believes that this setting provides so much to the manufacturing.

“The 2-person forged helps tremendously with price, but in addition the truth that it is a reminiscence play and it doesn’t require quite a lot of set,” he mentioned. “That could be a greater problem for us then even bringing in lights and sound. We’re figuring out of areas which might be multi-use areas, so there are different teams that want entry to them. And so the most important impediment for us has been to do productions which have an intricate set that’ll take up the area. Lights and the sound and even chairs, you’ll be able to set that up, and you continue to retain the efficacy of the multi-space use. In order that’s one other limitation that we’ve needed to work out, however once more the benefit is that we get to make use of and have a creative house within the coronary heart of Manhattan with a very beneficiant neighborhood. Typically limitations result in actually thrilling aesthetic selections … and I do suppose that we have now discovered ourselves in such a state of affairs proper now. This manufacturing is stripped right down to a 9-foot Steinway piano that we have now, a wheelchair and a walker, after which after all lights and sound. … This entire manufacturing is basically centered on this relationship between Morrie and Mitch.”

By John Soltes / Writer / [email protected]

Tuesdays With Morrie, produced by Sea Canine Theater, stars Len Cariou and Chris Domig. Performances proceed by means of Saturday, March 23, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan. Click here for more information and tickets.
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