The Show Must Go On | A Look at Pacific’s Production of The Typographer’s Dream

Across the nation, theatre is undergoing a metamorphoses. It will be many months still before anyone is able to attend a performance in-person but that doesn’t mean the lights are off and the curtains are closed. Theatre artists, resourceful and adaptable as the art itself, are finding new ways to bring the spectacle of live performance to audiences—through livestreaming.

Since early September, a dedicated student-faculty team has been working to bring Adam Bock’s The Typographer’s Dream to theatre lovers while following CDC guidelines. Director Ellen Margolis has run rehearsals both in-person and over Zoom in order to mold the unique look of the show, but the process has provided a number of new challenges even for a veteran director.

“Directing remotely — or actually in a hybrid remote/in-person model — is very different from what I'm used to,” said Ellen Margolis, who also serves as the Theatre & Dance department chair. “I love that working together over Zoom tends to dismantle the hierarchy a bit. I try not to be a top-down director and try to work collaboratively, but inevitably at some point I'm a voice coming out of the dark telling the people on stage what to do. On Zoom, I'm just another face in a square, which I really like.”

“Alternating between Zoom and in person rehearsals has definitely been the oddest thing,” said Dawson Oliver, one of two actors playing the role of Dave. “It's strange to have people next to you one day and then on screens the next.”

Another fascinating aspect of the production is Margolis’ decision to utilize two separate casts. This means each character is played by two actors, switching off every other performance. In addition to being a safety measure and providing built-in understudies, Margolis had other reasons for double casting.

“I thought a small show made sense in practical terms. At the same time, I wanted to provide more than three opportunities for performers. And it's been so interesting to see the subtle differences between the two casts' performances,”  Margolis added.

One of the central themes of The Typographer’s Dream is the way it frames success and identity in the work place. We see the three characters — a typographer, a geographer, and a stenographer — as they appear in their professional sphere, grappling with purpose, and the many little ways in which work doesn’t stop even after you leave the office.

Margolis said this deep sense of longing is what spoke to her about the play. “Each of the characters longs to be recognized, both through their chosen work and personally. They all want to know they're doing something important.”

Maggie Trettin, one of the actresses playing Annalise, said her primary takeaway of the show is choice,“I hope it shows people how they can change their own worlds."

The Typographer’s Dream features an outstanding cast of student actors including Leiana Petlewski, Ethan Won, Maggie Trettin, Megan Farmer, Dawson Oliver, and Emily Smith.

Performance and cast schedule:

Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. — Megan Farmer, Dawson Oliver, Emily Smith
Friday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. — Leiana Petlewski, Maggie Trettin, Ethan Won
Saturday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. — Leiana Petlewski, Maggie Trettin, Ethan Won
Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. — Megan Farmer, Dawson Oliver, Emily Smith
Sunday, Oct. 18 at 4 p.m.— Megan Farmer, Dawson Oliver, Emily Smith
Sunday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m.— Leiana Petlewski, Maggie Trettin, Ethan Won​

All performances will be livestreamed online exclusively through Broadway on Demand. There will be no in-person performances or recordings.

Ticket information can be found here.

Friday, Oct. 9, 2020