Currently running through November 2nd at the Shelterbelt Theatre, Mickey & Sage by Sara Farrington deals with the interaction of two children (played by adults Greg Harries and Kaitlin Maher) on their daily afternoon playdate. As each of their parents ‘hangout’ with each other, the kids discuss life, death, the universe, and, most importantly, they spy on the neighbors.
The play made its way the Shelterbelt after being featured at the Great Plains Theatre Conference a few years back.
The show’s director, Ben Beck, was immediately drawn to Farrington’s script. “It is written with a wonderful honesty and simplicity,” he said. “The important thing was to embrace that. It is important that the actors never seem cutesy or cheesy. You perform these roles the same way you would deal with a child. You should never talk down to a child. You should never demean them. That’s how you approach these characters.”
“It also helps to do what we did and go to my apartment and have a party in which we ate junk food and drew in coloring books and watched The Princess Bride,” he added.
Beck stayed in contact with Farrington throughout the process saying, “I have been talking to Sarah for the past four months via late-night phone calls, emails, and texts. I would discuss the script with her and we would bounce ideas off of one another. She is a wonderful, kind person and was exceedingly helpful during production. My only complaint is that she could only be in town for a day and a half. It was like meeting a penpal for the first time.”
Beck noted that each new show he works on presents unique and exciting challenges from the last one. A good comparison would be the difference in directing Mickey & Sage as opposed to Crash! Boom! Pow!, the show he co-wrote with Molly Welsh.
“Crash! Boom! Pow! was my own script and I knew it inside and out. With Mickey & Sage, I am directing another person’s work. Because of that, you have to closely explore the script and find the best way to tell the story. It also helps if it’s a story you want to tell, which this is.”
Mickey & Sage by Sara Farrington is running now through November 2nd at the Shelterbelt Theatre on 33rd and California St. For more information on the show, visit www.shelterbelt.org
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