The apocalypse looks to have hit the Chautauqua Theater Company. The Brawdy Theater Studios, usually bustling, are now quiet and subdued. Bratton Theater has been stripped of the season’s posters, banners and stage lights — barring the ghost and emergency lights. Marketing intern Natalie Redmond is absent from her post outside, where she sold CTC T-shirts, mugs and jackets.
Even though the CTC space is empty, the wheels have not stopped turning for Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch and Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy. September is their “rest” month, Benesch said, but come October, they’ll be back to the grindstone.
CTC announced two of its mainstage productions, Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) and Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, during its final Brown Bag.
As of now, the third play remains a mystery.
“There are a lot of contingencies on the third play,” Benesch said. “The next step is to speak to Zayd [Dohrn] and talk to him where he is at with his two plays.”
Dohrn is recipient of the 2015-16 Chautauqua Play Commission.
The company tries to announce the third play by Oct. 15, but, sometimes, that gets pushed to Nov. 1, Benesch said.
“September is about closing the previous season, and then October is when we kick it into high gear for preparing for next season,” Corporandy said.
This coming year may be busiest one Benesch, Corporandy and Associate Artistic Director Andrew Borba have had in recent memory.
“Usually, we are busy in waves, but this year, we are all going full throttle as soon as we get out of Chautauqua,” Corporandy said.
Benesch will be directing at Trinity Repertory Company in November followed by a trip to North Carolina, which will last through January 2016. Corporandy has her hands full, too, as she is the newly appointed producing director at the new Detroit Public Theatre; she plans to move there next fall. Borba will be teaching and directing in Los Angeles.
The three have a virtual relationship in the off-season, wherein most of their communication about the next season is done via video chat, email and text.
CTC initiated two new ventures this year, Residency 9 and the Young Playwrights Festival. Associate Director of Programming Deborah Sunya Moore has already started putting together things into place for the Young Playwrights program, Benesch said.
“When you go into the second year of a program, you can make it better and then it’s in a place where it moves on and has its own growth,” Corporandy said.
Despite the CTC leadership’s hectic schedules, Corporandy is confident the company’s creative objectives and sustained momentum will propel it into 2016.
CTC has “spent the past four years digging into our process into all levels to shake things up, take the cobwebs off and make sure we are doing things in the most efficient way,” she said. “I’d like to think that the machine is well-oiled, has new pieces and is running very well, which gives us room to grow and think bigger.”