5 Minutes With . . . Richard Garner
Richard Garner, producing artistic director of Georgia Shakespeare, spent his summer time vacation draining his highlighter on big books. As the theater he cofounded twenty-5 years ago inside a tent traveled the world through King Lear, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Shrew: The Musical, he was getting ready to guest-direct Theatrical Outfit’s world premiere adaptation of John Kennedy Toole’s satirical, Pulitzer-winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces. He seemed to be readying their own contemporary spin on Homer’s The Journey, scheduled for October 7 to 31 at his Oglethorpe College-based theater. The mild-mannered director has stored a lesser profile than local colleagues Kenny Leon and Susan V. Booth. But Garner’s smart visual staging and wry character-acting skills are strengthening his street cred. He’ll perform in Tracy Letts’s long awaited Pulitzer Prize champion August: Osage County in the Alliance the coming year. Even though some Atlanta theaters are cutting programming, his can be growing. This spring, Garner brings Shake at the sea to Piedmont Park following a one-year hiatus, and Georgia Shakespeare will close 2010 having a Christmas Story, its first holiday show in a long time.
How was Dunces (which ended its run in September)? Both challenging and liberating due to the recognition from the novel that inspired the play. I understood rabid fans from the book could be disappointed when their most favorite passage was overlooked, but simultaneously, it provided wealthy fuel.
Georgia Shakespeare is beginning a brand new series using the Journey: An Outing Home. Are you able to elaborate? It’s a ten-year project known as the Icarus Lab. Every 2 yrs we’ll create a new piece according to a current classic. It represents reaching beyond a safe place, such as the moment [within the myth] where Icarus is nearest towards the sun, before his wings melt and that he falls. Studying The Journey, I had been struck because when much the storyline of Odysseus battling to obtain home proportional towards the challenges modern vets face coming back home, with “home” being just as much a mental and emotional place like a physical place.
You found an associated item on eBay? In The Second World War, there have been books known as the Military Editions, which in fact had over 1,300 titles distributed liberated to combat soldiers. The books were printed half-sized so that they could easily fit in the shirt pocket of the uniform. No. 925 of those editions may be the Journey. I discovered two copies on eBay.
Inform us about August: Osage County? Discuss an unexpected telephone call. “Hey, Richard, for you to do this?” Well, yeah. Which was my audition, answering the telephone.
Photograph by Neda Abghari