Q & A with 100 Years Director Laura Ekstrand
I can’t quite figure out what this show is about. The description is curious but also so vague. Help!
Laura: Well, there are a couple of interesting surprises that unfold throughout the play, and we don’t want to give them away too soon. The play centers on the experiences of two couples who have enrolled in a program in Florida that has promised them new opportunities for health and happiness. What happens as they prepare for what is called “The Process” is that they examine what constitutes happiness, and what a rewarding life would look like to each of them.
100 Years is a co-production between Dreamcatcher Rep and Playwrights Theatre. What does that mean, and how did this come about?
Laura: This is our second co-production with Playwrights, and it comes from our desire to collaborate with like-minded organizations to benefit both of our audiences. This particular play was one that John Pietrowski, artistic director of Playwrights, had been working to develop with playwright Richard Dresser. It was of interest to both of us and we thought it would be a great fit for this season. We share expenses, income and resources, but most importantly, we share our creativity and energy.
Dreamcatcher did another Richard Dresser comedy in 2009. Is working on 100 Years any different than it was five years ago working on The Pursuit of Happiness?
Laura: Yes. The Pursuit of Happiness was a published play, and when we produced it we had not yet met Richard. He did, however, surprise us by coming to a performance and staying afterward to give us his blessing and support! Because he has a relationship with John, and this play was one that they had already worked on in development, Richard has been a part of this process, before and during rehearsals. Although the play was in fantastic shape going into rehearsal, there were a few minor changes we requested as the process unfolded. He has been incredibly responsive and generous in taking our input and making those small adjustments.
Since this show is new, what are the plans for 100 Years after its run at Dreamcatcher?
Laura: You would have to ask Richard that question! My hope is that he takes whatever he learns from this production to make any revisions he sees fit, and that it moves on to stages everywhere!
Looks like Harriett Trangucci is the only member of the Dreamcatcher acting ensemble in this show. What’s up with that? Usually the whole cast are Dreamcatchers!
Laura: Originally I had hoped that three of the cast would be from the Dreamcatcher company, but scheduling conflicts prevented that from happening. Happily, though, we have found some amazing people to complement Harriett and John. You’ll recognize Eli Ganias from Shakespeare in Vegas, our prior Playwrights co-pro. Eli & Stacie Lents had done a reading of 100 Years last year, and Julian Gordon is a delightful new acquaintance.
We loved The Neighborhood! Why doesn’t Dreamcatcher do more musicals?
Laura: We love musicals too! We have some great singers and would enjoy doing more shows that would showcase them. But the harsh reality of musicals is that they’re very expensive to produce, and that prevents us from including them in most seasons. As we continue to grow, we look forward to having musicals as a more regular fixture on our stage. If you know someone (or some company or foundation) who would love to support excellent local, professional theatre, please introduce us!
Is 100 Years appropriate for kids? What ages?
Laura: The subject matter of 100 Years will be of interest to kids approximately in middle school and up.
Director Laura Ekstrand
Laura directing on the set of 100 Years