Academy Theater Brings Dark Comedy Production ‘Seminar’ to Hapeville – WABE

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In the play “Seminar”, a group of aspiring writers see their work and their lives turned upside down during a 10-week writing course. Tony Award-nominated actor Alan Rickman returned to Broadway to star in the world premiere in 2011. Today, Atlanta’s longest-serving professional theater, the Academy Theater in Hapeville, presents a production of “Seminars”. The show opens April 29 and ends May 8. Director Robert Drake and actor Casey Cudmore joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to talk about “Seminar” and its darkly comedic clash of fragile personalities.

Interview Highlights:

A concise synopsis of “Seminar”:

“‘Seminar’ has four young writers at the start of their careers, trying to figure out how to get where they want to be, and they don’t yet realize what it’s going to cost them,” Drake said. “And the writer they hire to teach the seminar is only too happy to show them.”

“There are a few key romantic couples,” Drake explained. “One is between Martin, who is the main thread of the story, and Kate. And the second is between Izzy, who is sort of the ‘femme fatale’ of the series, and Leonard, who is the author from the seminar, and Martin. And Izzy sees the whole exercise as a game, and she’s willing to do whatever she has to do to win… Kate, I think, is the overlooked flower, and sometimes you see the flower too late .

Actor Cudmore’s affectionate sympathy for his character, Kate:

“I love Kate. The best metaphor I can find for her is that she’s a chrysalis,” Cudmore said. could say overeducated – and who hides behind herself. And for her, it’s a story of getting out of her own way.

“One of the things that drew me to this play in the first place was that in every world of intense acting training I’ve been in, there’s a cult of personality surrounding a brilliant middle-aged actor. “Cudmore said. “Having a Shakespearean ‘Equity’ actor ask you why you’re afraid of intimacy at nine in the morning on a Monday is very similar to the mood that’s going on with that story.”

What the play tells about the writers’ real-life struggles:

“I think that [playwright Theresa Rebeck] seeks to tell us that people can see things in different ways and that the identity of the writer harms our ability to write honestly,” Drake said. “The character of Douglas has a successful uncle who’s a writer, who went to an Ivy League school, went to exclusive writing retreats, and has good publications. And so his writing is perceived very differently from that of Martin, who lives in a poor apartment in Queens and has to take the F train to get to town, has no connection and knows no one.

“At the start of the play, all the characters have this image of the author of the novel, you know, living in this 19th-century tower and sending their Pulitzer Prize-winning work of art, being flown by doves to the masses, observed Cudmore. “The story is that they’re grappling with the fact that this isn’t really the world we live in anymore. And we can still make beautiful art, but you have to avoid that world. agents, scholars, and critics and finding maybe less ethical, maybe less traditional ways to get your work out there, because the work and the art is what matters in the end.

“Seminar” is on stage at the Academy Theater from April 29 through May 8. Tickets and more information are available at academytheatre.org.


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