Thornton Wilder Festival to try something new - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Thornton Wilder Festival to try something new

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The 11th annual Thornton Wilder Short Play Festival will be taking place this weekend.

"Well keeping with the way we've been doing it the last little more than a decade we're taking these very, very simple plays by Thornton Wilder, without costumes, without many props, without much set and we're just telling them again, reinterpreting plays we've already done," said Artistic Director, Daved Driscoll. "We're the only theater in the world that has done all of Thornton Wilder's short plays so now we're repeating them and exploring new ways to think about the ideas that he presents in each of the plays."

In this year's reinterpretation of Wilder's Plays the cast will be a little different. 

"We've gone from adults, to a little bit more costumes, it's always been pretty simple but every year has been progressing and just changing," said Director, Katelyn Slater. "This year we're using kids, and I've worked with these kids, we did a short play in September when I was back. Just see them work as a group and bond, it was like, it would be so cool if they did this festival. So they've just put so much into this while I was gone and seeing them work as a group, I just really wanted to see what they could come up with."
Slater is enjoying the unique experience of working with younger actors. 

"I think one thing using kids is they don't worry about the age limit," said Slater. "They're just freer to experiment and just seeing a 14 year-old play a 40 year old, or even an 80 year-old in some of these shows, is just so interesting because they are so creative, and they come up with these crazy characters and they just do it on their own."

This years production represents the emergence of the next group of actors. 

"I think I'm most excited to see a new generation of Words Player people," said Driscoll. "Most of these kids haven't been a lot involved in Wilder per se coming to explore this and seeing that there aren't age boundaries in these plays."

This may not be your traditional type of play, but a lot of effort still goes into putting on the performance. 

"It's a different kind of work," said Driscoll. "It's much less work in terms of we're not building sets, we're not having costumes, we're not doing things like that. So it's a different kind of cerebral work in terms of people spending time with the script and getting to know the characters. Memorizing things independently, small groups of them working, before Katelyn gets here from California, but even so it's a month of working on and off, several days a week and then intense work a couple days a week while Katelyn is here." 

The Thornton Wilder Short Play Festival runs from April 1-2 at the First Presbyterian Church in Rochester. 

For more information click here.

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