Three directors, four hours, 25 crew members, 35 actors, 1,000 falafel roll-ups, and lots and lots of fake blood. That’s what it will take to put on the Boston premiere of the innovative play These Seven Sicknesses – which is why it’s happening exclusively at Suffolk.
Based on Sean Graney’s new adaptation of Sophocles’ seven surviving tragedies, These Seven Sicknesses is an ambitious, marathon production. All seven plays are performed in a fast-moving, four-hour event, complete with a vegetarian dinner and dessert served during intermission.
“Given the sheer magnitude of the production – the length, the number of performers and crew, and the fact that we even feed the audience during the show – professional theatre companies typically can’t afford to mount this production,” explains production manager Jim Bernhardt.
“For our students, the reward is learning about classics while being the first in the city to perform this incredibly fun and moving piece.”
Suffolk professor Wes Savick, who’s directing five of the seven segments, was first exposed to the play on a trip to New York.
“A four-hour play? I thought, ‘how could they possibly make this work?’” Savick recalls. “But the rapid-fire succession of the stories kept us all so engaged, and breaking bread with fellow audience members added a unique communal element to the experience.”
Much of the logistical responsibility of corralling 60 actors and crew belongs to veteran stage manager and senior theatre student Anthony Schiavo. Schiavo, who has worked on numerous student and professional productions, calls These Seven Sicknesses worth all the effort and long rehearsals:
“Of course coordinating this show is difficult, but we’re up to the challenge. The actors, the crew and I are learning so much – about Greek drama, about stagecraft, and about truly taking care of our audience.”
These Seven Sicknesses opens Friday, Nov. 16, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. Tickets are $20 for the general public and are available online at www.moderntheatre.com. Discounted $15 tickets are available for students, seniors, and the Suffolk community at the Suffolk Campus Hub. The ticket price includes dinner and dessert. The Modern Theatre is located at 525 Washington St. in Boston’s Theatre District.