Saturday, June 18, 2011


We’re in the middle of tech for “Assassins” and it my most favorite part of the process. Every element comes together and you begin to see if the sketches and ideas are going to actually work onstage. I try to spend three months on pre-production studying the script, researching, and finding images that help to reveal how I see the world of the play. This time becomes the foundation for how the show will evolve.

Every director has their own process, but I always begin with imagery. For “Assassins” I was immediately drawn to photographs of abandoned roller coasters. I’ve always loved riding coasters and it takes me back to family trips to Cedar Point and Disneyworld when I was kid. They represent a simpler time, embracing the symbol of Americana. They’re also thrilling and dangerous, and this seemed to reinforce the characters journey in the show.

Design meetings with Krista, Dan, Bryce and Sarah began by discussing the images I found and expanded as they began sharing images they discovered. The collaborative process is my favorite part of making theatre. Great designers challenge convention and push to find the most exciting and truthful choices for a production, and our designers embraced that mission. Everyone is contributing to the storytelling process by responding to other peoples work. There’s an exciting synergy that drives theatre when you’re work with talented collaborators who respect each other.

That carries over into the rehearsal studio when the actors begin developing their characters. I love smart actors, “Assassins” is blessed to have intuitive, talented, and highly creative actors bringing the show to life. Our actors are fearless in their work and I couldn’t be more proud to be working with every one of them. One of my favorite moments in the show is Josh DeVries (as Leon Czolgosz) explaining how a bottle is created. He has endowed the monologue with wisdom and passion far advanced of most actors his age. It’s magical theatre to witness.

Every actor in our company has shared their lives and made an indelible mark on the production. They’ve bravely breathed life into an assortment of characters who are hated and reviled for their actions- and they’ve done this without judgment or prejudice.

Each acting objective, brush stroke of paint, choice of lighting position, sound cue, and stitch has strengthened a very simple idea that began almost a year ago with an old roller coaster. Our company of artists have made my initial idea better and stronger. I am forever grateful to them and hope that our future collaborations are as enriching as this has been for me.

Chad Larabee,


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