Open Forum

Modern large cast dramas

  • 1.  Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 19 days ago
    Hi all: wondered if people have some ideas about large cast contemporary dramas. I teach at a high school and was looking at Metamorphoses but I think the complication with the pool is going to prove to big of a hurdle (obviously, Metamorphoses is half modern/half classical, but what I mean by modern is don't want to do sometime where the language is a huge hurdle). But I can't quite get the idea of a lyrical ensemble piece like Metamorphoses out of my head. Anything come to mind? Thanks all! I just joined last year and learned so much reading all your posts.
    - Nick

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    Nick Hoffa
    Drama Director
    South Pasadena Unified
    South Pasadena CA
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  • 2.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 19 days ago
    Hi there Nick-

    We are doing these three shows this year with large casts.

    Infinite Black Suitcase by EM Lewis (15 characters)
    Amadeus by Peter Schaffer (15 characters)
    Radium Girls by DW Gregory (9 actors doubling to play 38 parts)

    Laramie Project, Laramie Project Ten Years Later, and 26 Pebbles are all documentary style theatre with a lot of parts that can be doubled or spread out. All are personal accounts of tragic true events.

    These are a few that came to mind.
    Good Luck!
    Shawn Hann
    Denver School of the Arts


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    Shawn Hann
    Denver CO
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  • 3.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 18 days ago
    Hey Shawn: thanks so much. There are some great choices and right in line. We did Laramie last year and think I'm looking for something similar. Thanks.

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    Nick Hoffa
    Drama Director
    South Pasadena Unified
    South Pasadena CA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 18 days ago
    Hi Nick,
    I would echo the plays mentioned earlier but would add one more. Although written for 3 people, we found a way to break up Complete Works....abridged, to accomodate a larger cast. If interested I would be willing to share how we broke it up.

    Some other casts with 20+ people could include Miracle on 34th St., It's A Wonderful Life, Midsummer, etc.
    Good Luck and enjoy the rest of your summer.
    Jim

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    James Fry
    Director of Student Life and the Malvern Theatre Society
    Malvern, PA
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  • 5.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 17 days ago
    Hey James: yeah would love to see it if it is no trouble. Thanks!

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    Nick Hoffa
    Drama Director
    South Pasadena Unified
    South Pasadena CA
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 17 days ago
    I'm pretty sure there have been threads on here about doing Metamorphoses without a pool -- I think they did it at Julliard on a playground. Have you looked at Zimmerman's Secret in the Wings or Arabian Nights? Naomi Iizuka's Anon(ymous) is also fantastic if you have a diverse cast of actors.

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    Cora Turlish
    Metuchen NJ
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  • 7.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 17 days ago
    Thanks Cora. I haven't looked at Secret in the Wings. Will check it out. And thanks for the encouragement to not be swayed by the water!

    ------------------------------
    Nick Hoffa
    Drama Director
    South Pasadena Unified
    South Pasadena CA
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 17 days ago
    Nick,

    We did Metamorphoses without a pool, and it was a huge success. We set it in a marketplace and kept the whole cast onstage throughout, supplying sounds and movement to underscore of the stories. While there are references to water to in the script, those moments can easily be staged with some creative blocking and committed actors. A benefit of doing a "dry" production is that it demonstrates to the students that "copying the original" is not necessarily the most interesting way to stage a play. I'd highly recommend giving it a whirl. 





  • 9.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 15 days ago
    Thanks for the encouragement, Michael. I'm excited to re-read and re-think.

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    Nick Hoffa
    Drama Director
    South Pasadena Unified
    South Pasadena CA
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 15 days ago
    We also did Metamorphoses without an actual pool. Although we did still have a pool of sorts. We had an 8x12 frame of 2x4 that we had an erormous kind of quilt I made of various blue fabrics attached inside. The actors pulled the fabric up, covered themselves with it partially, and in general treated it as water. It was beautiful and very effective and allowed us to still have the metaphors around what happens in the water and out of the water intact.

    I also saw saw a snippet of a show where actors essentially became the water. It's a gorgeous show, no matter how you decide to handle that element, and well worth producing.

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    Amy Neal Bussey
    Theatre Director, English and Drama Teacher
    Stuarts Draft High School
    Stuarts Draft, Virginia
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  • 11.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 11 days ago
    Thanks for the thoughts Amy.

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    Nick Hoffa
    Drama Director
    South Pasadena Unified
    South Pasadena CA
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 12 days ago
    I'm inspired by so many of the ideas people have contributed in this thread.  Thank you!

    I just wanted to chime in because our high school performed Metamorphoses last year.  We bought a pool on Amazon, used fabric and pieces of nature we collected to build a natural-looking surround for the outside of it, and filled it a few inches deep with water.  The light reflected beautifully off the water (even though it wasn't too deep) and we had the gorgeous sound of water trickling, gushing, wringing, etc.  We had sump pumps and an emergency plan waiting in the wings, just in case, but because we had an actual pool liner, the water was sealed!  Just wanted to encourage you to go for it if the piece really speaks to you.  Performing this beautiful piece was very powerful for all of us.

    Best of luck!
    Melissa

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    Melissa Charych
    Concord MA
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  • 13.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 11 days ago
    Thanks Melissa - you are not alone in encouraging me to take it on - pool or not. I've set my alarm to give it a re-read tomorrow morning. Thanks for your encouraging words.

    ------------------------------
    Nick Hoffa
    Drama Director
    South Pasadena Unified
    South Pasadena CA
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 8 days ago
    Edited by Ginny Butsch 8 days ago
    Love the idea of Amadeus (my favorite play of all time) and Radium Girls. Both great plays. Also think The Laramie Project is a wonderful option.

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    Jean Klein
    Playwright/Founder HaveScripts/BlueMoonPlays
    Playwriting Teacher in MFA program, Wilkes University]
    Virginia BeachVA
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  • 15.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 11 days ago
    Thanks so much Jean. You've intuited the right vibe with Laramie  - we did that last year and I'm looking for something in a similar vein. I will check out those other two plays. Thanks!

    ------------------------------
    Nick Hoffa
    Drama Director
    South Pasadena Unified
    South Pasadena CA
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  • 16.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 4 days ago
    Also, if you're okay with comedies, I'd recommend "The Love of Three Oranges" by Hillary de Piano and the Terry Pratchett novel adaptations -- we've done "Wyrd Sisters" and "Mort" with a lot of success. A large-cast drama that I LOVE is "The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem" by Rinne Groff (Playscripts), though there's a lot of advanced math talk.

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    Cora Turlish
    Metuchen NJ
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  • 17.  RE: Modern large cast dramas

    Posted 4 days ago
    Thank you Cora for naming some recent titles.   Love it when those choosing the plays are open to newer pieces.  (not saying the other posters are not, but see a lot of recommendations of 70 year old plays)

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    Leon Kaye
    Playwright for the Ages
    Lhk@koa1.com
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