by Haley Flanders, dramaturg,
Hello and welcome to week 2 of the Argonautika behind-the-scenes blogs! As you prepare for your voyage to see our play June 2 through June 17 in the Pardoe Theater, we would like to give you more insight into the playwright and original director of Argonautika, the one and only…Mary Zimmerman!
Mary Zimmerman is a very prestigious and unique playwright in the world of professional and collegiate theatre.
BYU Young Company performed her award-winning play, Metamorphoses as a Theatre For Young Audiences (TYA) production in 2006. They then performed her play, Arabian Nights as the spring show in 2012.
Mary Zimmerman was born on August 23, 1960 in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is the recipient of the 2002 Tony Award for Best Director, a 1998 MacArthur Fellowship. She is a member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company of Chicago, an Artistic Associate of the Goodman Theatre and a Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, from where she received her BA, MA, and PhD. The following are some of her most famous plays that she has devised:
Journey To The West
Disney’s The Jungle Book
So what makes Zimmerman so iconic and unique? Let’s talk a little about her process, called “devised theatre.”
Adapter and Director Mary Zimmerman works collaboratively with the company of Candide in rehearsal. Performances begin September 10 at the B.U. Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo Cred: Liz Lauren.
Most playwrights do not direct their own plays. Most directors begin rehearsal with a fully written script and have rehearsal periods for a few months. Many playwrights seek to write original works. Mary Zimmerman, however, is known for her unique style of creating theatre.
She writes and directs the original productions of her plays.
She starts with no script.
She uses popular texts and stories and adapts them into plays during a 4-week rehearsal process.
She collaborates with her cast and writes the script bit by bit, basing the dialogue and actions on what the actors create in rehearsal.
Mary Zimmerman’s Argonautika
Zimmerman continues to be drawn to ancient literature and stories based in oral tradition. Argonautika went through this same process when she originally wrote and directed the production in 2006 at the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago.
(For a much more detailed bio, read the end of this blog post.)
HAVE A LOOK-SEE FOR YOURSELF! ZIMMERMAN ON FILM AND IN PRINT: Continue reading