In the Rochester Repertory Theatre’s latest show, “Screwtape,” unseen influences dog the characters.

Director Dawn Farr wonders if their presence is more than fiction.

The production brings Farr back to the helm of a Rochester Repertory Theatre show for the first time since 2015. Farr had to step away for health reasons during the production of “Making God Laugh.”

“I wanted to make sure I was well enough to do some things before I directed a show,” she said.

"Screwtape"

Laurie Helmers, playing Slumtrimpet, left, Rich Mansfield, playing Screwtape, and George Skare, playing Wormwood, rehearse on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, for the upcoming production "Screwtape," at the Rochester Repertory Theatre. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

Farr, who is now walking with the aid of a cane, has worked to regain enough mobility to return to the director’s seat. Despite having graduated from needing a walker to get around, the progress has felt slow, she said.

But staying away wasn’t an option.

“I breathe theatre,” she said. “I’ve done theatre since I was a little girl.”

“Screwtape” is a stage adaptation written by James Forsyth of C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters.” Farr said it was the first show she was involved with when she transferred to Bethel University (then Bethel College) to study theatre.

“I’ve always wanted to do this show,” she said.

Screwtape

Anna Landkammer, playing Judy, left, and Jerry Roberts, playing Macadam, act during a rehearsal on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, for the upcoming production, "Screwtape," at the Repertory Theatre in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

The concept behind the show of unseen hands playing with our decisions and fates appeals to Farr. Looking back at “Making God Laugh,” she wonders if there was a bit of that occurring. Four cast members ended up dropping out of the show and Farr herself had to step back as her own health problems set in.

“Whatever beliefs you have, sometimes it feels like there’s an exterior force influencing our lives,” she said.

The show will also include live quartet performing music between scenes and during intermission. Much of it is improvised and moody with dissonant tones.

“If we do something we like, we try to duplicate it,” said Alecia Meline, who plays violin. The music is supposed to be dark but a little bit playful.

The show opens Friday, Jan. 17.

What's your reaction?

7
0
0
0
0

General Assignment Reporter

John joined the Post Bulletin in May 2018. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2004 with degrees in Journalism and Japanese. Away from the office, John plays banjo, brews beer, bikes and is looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter “b.”