This month, CalArts School of Theater students adapt the Henry James novel, The Portrait of a Lady, for the stage. Labeled "a journey piece," the production mounts Thursday-Saturday (March 15-17) and Monday-Wednesday (March 19-12) at 8 pm in Butler Building 2. Under the direction of Alexis Macnab (Theater MFA 13), the play tells the story of a spirited young woman who makes a terrible mistake.
A short synopsis from the producer Meg Annand (Theater MFA 13):
The Portrait of a Lady intimately follows Isabel Archer, an independent American girl, as she moves to Europe and inherits a large fortune. Devoted to her independence, Isabel turns away from many suitors, until she marries a man whose intentions are not what they first seem. Direct and thought provoking, The Portrait of a Lady asks us to consider how we move on from our missteps.
A creative team of more than 24 students developed the show over the course of the last several months, with the goal of translating the novel into a new theatrical language that "approximates the immersive experience of reading the book."
"This is a developmental process that has seen all of us working in the same room each night, building scenic elements, adding scenes, removing scenes and re-blocking the show," says Annand. "The final product is a journey piece in which the audience moves around the campus, guided by our actors."
To learn more about the designers' process and to see video, photos and their blog, visit the production's website.
In addition to the performances, one last open rehearsal is held tonight (March 14) at 8 pm in Butler Building 2. Since a portion of the play is outdoors, be sure to wear appropriate clothing and footwear is recommended.
The Portrait of a Lady
Butler Building 2, CalArts
Open Rehearsal: Tonight (March 14) at 8 pm
Thursday-Saturday (March 15-17) at 8 pm
Monday-Wednesday (March 19-22) at 8 pm
Tickets: General $10, CalArts Community $2