“In doing new plays you are part of the generative process,” says Masterson, South Coast Repertory’s artistic director. “If I direct Death of a Salesman [which Masterson will direct this fall], I’m interpreting something that has been done many times before by other people. I measure myself against that other mountain of productions.
“But with a new play, I am part—and SCR and the audience are part—of the creation of that work. We launch it into the world. Our audience has an opportunity not only to see something before any other audience sees it, but also to help shape it through their response to things. The playwright is there, the directors are there and everybody is listening to what our audience thinks. Fundamentally we want to make good theater with these plays and tell a story to our audience that gives them a chance to respond and participate in the creation of something.”
Masterson says some of the most successful recent works have been world premieres, like Beau Willimon’s The Parisian Woman, one of the most successful shows in SCR’s history.
Here are some quick-takes on how Masterson sees the new works coming up on the Julianne Argyros Stage:
- “Fast Company is a caper. It’s a heist and a grifter story and you don’t know who to believe and who to trust. It moves at a lightening pace and it keeps you guessing right up until the end. It’s a fun and fresh contemporary play that will be directed by Bart DeLorenzo. Bart is going to bring his magic to the storytelling and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do. I know there’s going to be great design and great acting and it’s going to be fun!”
- “Trudy and Max in Love… is a contemporary love story. Maybe you would call it a “twenty-something” love story. It’s young love in every sense: the way people live, the way people love and the way people interact. It has great heart and a wonderful sense of humor about it. You care about these people and you want them to, if not have a happy ending, at least to have learned something from the experience of falling in love that way.”
- “Reunion is visceral. It’s highly theatrical, “gut-check” play. It’s a great contemporary drama that has opportunity for virtuoso performances. When you see Reunion, you will know that you’re in a live theater event and not in a movie or watching television. It is right there in front of you and you’re going to feel it.”
And his hopes for the 50th season?
“I hope that people will feel and different times of the year that they have been delighted and surprised. Come with an open mind and encounter something surprising. Learn about who we are by watching these stories. Enjoy the variety of these experiences and come back for more!”