This has been a week of firsts: the first days of rehearsal for the first show of Round House’s new season, The Talented Mr. Ripley. It’s also my first experience as an assistant director working on a professional show.
And, for an unapologetic English nerd such as myself, what better way to start out than with Round House’s trademark, a literary adaptation? However, anyone who goes into this show expecting to see Patricia Highsmith’s novel simply placed onstage is in for a surprise. Phyllis Nagy, our playwright, focuses in on the elements of The Talented Mr. Ripley that were so groundbreaking in 1955 and updates them for the audience of today. Her unique sensibility keeps the book’s themes and characters intact, but also captures the visceral punch that Highsmith might have aimed for had she written the book today.
Take this script, add a talented cast, sharp production team, and, of course, Blake at the head (who has been waiting to get his hands on this show for three years), and there you have it: Round House’s The Talented Mr. Ripley.
The first week has been about translating the script from page to stage in its most rudimentary form – discussing characters with actors and working to find the spaces onstage that each scene will occupy.
Now that the foundation is in place, next week will be all about delving further into the discoveries that arise as we explore the ingenious twists and turns of The Talented Mr. Ripley.
We’re off to a good start with week one. Bring on week two.
- Ann Fraistat, assistant director