The following article appeared today in TDF Stages, the online magazine of the Theatre Development Fund you should be reading regularly. You can read it over there or below!
Faced with the task of turning autobiography into theatre, a director constantly walks a tightrope. Lean too far toward invention, and you’re abandoning the writer’s initial spark of inspiration. Hew too closely to the source material, and you risk a stagnant production. How can ideas grounded in true experiences resonate on both artistic and personal levels?
Director Jonathan Butterell believes such stories must acquire new life onstage. “With all things that are ultimately autobiographical, it becomes important that they move on as soon as they become theatrical,” he says. “Those characters on the page must develop their own lives, their own circumstances, their own struggles.”
A Second Chance, the new musical playing through April 13 at the Public Theater, illustrates that transition.