MUNICH — MunichNOW Arts & Culture — We recently received this interesting interview with Bogdan Tabacaru, the director of the upcoming Entity Theatre production of “Lend Me a Tenor”. We are reproducing it here in full. Credit should be given to “adrianne16” for writing the piece and to Katrin Fegert and Christine Fuss for the photos.
Just imagine how crazy life must be when you are directing a play and it is only six weeks until the premiere! Fortunately, Bogdan, the director of Lend Me A Tenor, has a foolproof plan and keeps a clear head. Between rehearsals and production meetings he talked to us about choreographed chaos, disputable make-up choices and the art of slamming doors.
How many plays have you directed with Entity?
This is my second play with Entity. Before Lend Me A Tenor by Ken Ludwig, I directed a two-act play called Numbers by Mar Gómez Glez in 2017.
How did you discover Lend Me A Tenor?
I wanted to direct a comedy. But I did not really know which one. There are many great comedies for the stage out there. At the time, I was going through a play-reading frenzy. I would read almost anything that my friends would recommend. Finally, I stumbled upon Ken Ludwig and was immediately hooked on Lend Me A Tenor. I laughed out loud on almost every page. Actually, I still do during rehearsals.
What is your vision for the play?
The play is set in a very fancy hotel apartment in Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1930s. So, I find it only fitting to take advantage of this fact and design the play in one of history’s most iconic periods regarding fashion and architecture. We want to use historically accurate costumes and set designs. We will use a historically accurate representation of Otello, we will have live singing on stage and most definitely a lot of door slamming.
What all went into to the process of selecting the right cast for this play?
Because Lend Me A Tenor (LMAT) is a farce, the characters risk falling into stereotypes and clichés. I needed to find a group of actors who can provide honest and spontaneous performances, keep the play alive, and perform the show differently every night. Besides the acting difficulty, the action in LMAT revolves around the protagonist, Max. One could say the whole play is Max’s morally questionable and hilarious journey from zero to hero. For this reason I needed a team who can support, guide, and confront the protagonist, while still being remarkable in their roles.
What does a rehearsal look like?
I believe actors can be self-conscious and aware of their own performances. Therefore, the rehearsal space is a safe place where I encourage the actors to experiment with different ideas. Trial and error is accepted and even supported. I have forbidden the judgment of an actor’s work as good or bad. Actors need not only remember their text but also be spontaneous and exercise comedic timing when delivering their lines. For this reason, we are exploring multiple alternatives of playing the same line of text instead of deciding on a single way of playing it and then merely repeating it. This process is partly inspired by Stanislavsky’s focus on actions and objectives.
Which aspects of the play do you like best?
I love to watch the different characters and their relationships unravel on stage. I like how the playwright synchronizes many changes within the play using door slams. I am a big fan of physical comedy, puns, and language jokes. Also, I love the fashion and architecture style of the 1930s.
Is there anything you don’t like about the play?
The only genuinely challenging point about the script, which I dislike and refuse to implement, is the unfortunate reference to the racist practice of blackface. We do not judge or assume the playwright’s intentions; we just will not use blackface make-up in this production. I am looking forward to publishing some more information on this topic soon.
Describe Lend Me A Tenor in three words!
Choreographed controlled chaos (say that three times fast!)
Why do you think, the audience should come out to see Lend Me A Tenor?
I think the audience will get a kick out of this production. LMAT is a heightened comedy, which draws laughter from everything spanning from mistaken identity and slamming doors to situational comedy and language gags. The script on its own is a fantastic feat of writing. The play has won four Tony awards and several other nominations.
Personally, I invite the audience to look forward to an evening of complete comedic entertainment.
About Ken Ludwig:
Playwright Ken Ludwig has earned two Olivier awards. His work has been performed in more than 30 countries in over 20 languages. He has authored 25 plays and musicals, including six Broadway productions and seven in London’s West End.
November 1-3, 2018, 8 p.m.
November 4, 2018, 3 p.m.
November 6-10, 2018, 8 p.m.
18 €/12 € (concessions for students)
Ticket sales online: www.entitytheatre.com
Director: Bogdan Tabacaru
Producer: Katrin Fegert
A production by Entity Theatre in English.
Get more information on our blog: https://lendmeatenor.wordpress.com
About Entity Theatre e.V.:
Entity is an international, English-language theatre group located in Munich. We have
members aged 18 and upwards from all corners of the world, and we welcome people with
diverse backgrounds to participate in our activities and performances. Although we are an
amateur group, we take what we do seriously, and we have a reputation for putting on great shows with excellent reviews. Our community has a genuine love for all things theatre.
Entity Theatre e.V.
Post office box: 83 03 25