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But wait!

 

With all this hubub about City Shakes producing a feature film adaptation of Macbeth, titled Heat of Deeds, what will happen to the theater company in the meantime?

 

We’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, too, and fortunately for us, a brilliant solution has been right in front of our face for a long time.

 

This week wNavye’re excited to introduce Mallin Alter, City Shakes’ current Assistant Director and up-and-coming artist. Mallin is going to take over the City Shakes space while we’re gone in September with her very first professional production of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.

 

This is a special production by Studio M, Mallin’s theater company, and hosted by The City Shakespeare Company.

 

I had the chance to ask Mallin some questions about her artistic process. Check it out…

 

What is your role with City Shakes?

I am currently Assistant Directing “Romeo and Juliet” and was the Assistant Director/Stage Manager for “Merchant of Venice.”

 

What drew you to working with this company?

I am extremely passionate about Shakespeare so I was very excited to find a company that specialized on the playwright.
 

You’ve been very involved in Shakespeare for a while now, and in school. Can you talk about your directing experience?

I was first seriously exposed to Shakespeare at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. I was part of their High School Shakespeare program, and later went on to take the Adult Intensive Seminar. While at UCLA, I became involved with its student Shakespeare Company, acting in productions of Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Julius Caesar. My senior year, I became the President of the company and directed my favorite Shakespeare play King Lear (this was the first play I ever directed). I also directed a scene from All’s Well That Ends Well for the company’s “Evening of Shakespeare.” Since joining City Shakes, I’ve been learning a lot about directing from Brooke Bishop.

 

Why did you choose “The Cherry Orchard?”

I took a life-changing class on Anton Chekhov at UCLA (taught by my dramaturg, Boris Dralyuk). We read a ton of Chekhov’s short stories and two of his most famous plays, The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard. After that class, Chekhov became one of my favorite writers. Although the play was written around the turn of the century, I think it still feels incredibly modern and relevant.

In addition, Michael Henry Heim, the translator of the text I am using, was my Russian novel professor. He recently passed away, and I am dedicating the production to him.

 

Can you talk about your vision for the production?

I was inspired by Joe Wright’s film adaptation of Anna Karenina. I loved how he created a mash-up of 1880s Imperial Russian and 1950s couture. He also emphasized the theatricality of aristocratic Russian by setting the story in an abandoned theatre.

For my production, I want to combine Edwardian elements with modern elements (Downton Abbey meets Urban Outfitters). By bringing these two periods together, I want to give the audience an understanding of meaning of the time period in which it was written, and its relevance to today. I am making cherry blossoms a motif to demonstrate the characters’ connection to the past. It also symbolizes the changes occurring in their lives.

 

How does it feel to be “stepping out” in your first professional production?

I am extremely excited and grateful to City Shakes for this opportunity to experiment and grow as a director.

 

Anything else?

“Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.” (Anton Chekhov)
 

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