Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In the Wings: Tuesdays with Morrie. Meet Thea Strand.

Thea Strand is the director of Tuesdays with Morrie, the second show in the 2010-2011 MainStage Season at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette The script is by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, based on Albom's book of the same name.

Question: What made you want to direct this play?
Thea Strand: I think it was just time. I've been on the other side of the script for a long time -- almost 30 years at Civic Theatre. I directed a staged reading a few seasons ago. The request came at a time in my life that I thought I could take this step.

Q: How has your experience been throughout the preparations for this production?
T.S.: As a new director, it was an eye-opening experience. It takes a lot of effort to put all the people into place but everyone has stepped up to help. I can't express how grateful I am to all the people who have helped with this production. And I got my dream cast. It couldn't be any better. Rehearsals have been a true joy. I absolutely love the process of watching something come from a bunch of black dots on a page to a true piece of art on the stage.

Q: What has it been like working with Sidney Pellissier and Mark Allen Carter, who play Morrie and Mitch?
T.S.: Well, we are three theater veterans -- all of us have many years of theater experience. I have to say, though, that it was a little daunting for me to think about directing two of my favorite directors. My two favorite roles were directed by these two men. I was Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire with Sidney as director; and I was M'Lynn in Steel Magnolias with Mark as director. To direct these stellar directors was tough to consider. But it has been wonderful. I had a very clear vision of what I saw in this play and a clear vision of these characters. They have bought into that and I have loved every minute of it.

Q: What do you hope the audience will take away from seeing this play?
T.S.: I hope the audience members leave here and need to go someplace and talk about this. I want them to walk away feeling something. I think that is what theater is about. If you leave and don't have anything to talk about on the way home, we didn't do our job. Every person will take away a different message depending on where they are in their life. But, for everyone, I want them to talk about it afterward.

Tuesdays with Morrie will open Friday, November 5 and run three consecutive weekends through Sunday, November 21 at the historic Monon Depot Theatre at the corner of 5th Street and North Street in downtown Lafayette. Friday and Saturday evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m.; the Sunday afternoon performances will begin at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for youth age 18 and under.

For more information about the show or to order tickets, call Civic Theatre's office at 765-423-7529 or visit Civic Theatre's website.

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