C. Evans Kirk tells us about directing The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s new production Cantorial – which opens this weekend.
“Written by famed American dramatist Ira Levin (author of Rosemary’s Baby and Deathtrap), this mystery-comedy follows a young couple who renovate an abandoned synagogue in New York City into their posh dream home. But some of the upgrades are unanticipated. When they realize the building is haunted by the synagogue’s cantor, their lives and the building are indelibly altered. Will they be able to merge the “Old World” with the “New World”? A heart-warming and humorous ghost story that speaks to the universal need to stay connected with the past.
Cantorial is set in a converted synagogue in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1987. The Lower East Side has a rich history as an immigrant neighborhood. At the turn of the 20th Century, it had the largest Jewish community in the country. By the 1980s, the neighborhood had changed and many of the synagogues had been torn down or converted into homes or offices. Today it is a predominantly a Puerto Rican and Dominican community.
When I first read the script, the image of a large stained glass Star of David came to mind. That image has stayed with me and as we finish building the set, this stained glass window is the major focal point of the show. Its light shining down on the characters gives them hope, strength, and faith.
As for our ghost (the original Cantor of the synagogue), he is as real as any of the other characters in the show even though he is not seen! The world we live in is enchanted and mysterious. It is not a symbol or a metaphor. However, we often make up symbols and metaphors to explain the unknown. In “magical realism,” writers write the ordinary as miraculous and the miraculous as ordinary. In short, there is no answer, you just believe.
We are very lucky to have a singer who will perform the role of the Cantor live at each performance of Cantorial. Not having a recorded sound only adds to the realism. Playwright Ira Levin has given us a beautiful play and we hope we have taken his words and given them both the magic and realness that he intended. In the end, we hope the audience will take home with them some of the hope, strength, and faith that we have found working on this production.”
Cantorial is playing October 27 – November 17, 2012 (Wednesday – Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm) at The Little Theatre of Alexandria – 600 Wolfe Street, in Alexandria, VA. Tickets can be purchased online, or by calling (703) 683-0496. If calling for group tickets, please call Tina at 703-683-5778 x1.
To learn even more about Cantorial, visit our LTA BLOG. Below, watch a series of VIDEO BLOGS that take you behind the scenes of Cantorial.
C. Evans Kirk (Director/Set Designer for Cantorial) joined LTA in 1978 as a student in Helen Todd’s junior acting class. Over the years, he has taken classes and been a teacher; has been onstage, backstage and in the front of the house; and has worked in the business office and served on the board. Chris is always excited to return to his favorite role, director. Chris directed Widdershins for LTA two seasons ago and with his team won LTA’s Outstanding Production of the Year, along with Best Director and several other awards.
Meet the cast of Cantorial.