Our minimalist production Mother Courage Alone in late September/early October 2017 was a great success and kudos to Greer DuBois as Mother Courage, Steffen Silvis as the Narrator and Diana Wheeler who provided the music on trumpet, violin and drum. The show was a linear retelling of Mother Courage and Her Children, looking retrospectively at events of the play, and with the Narrator commenting on and questioning the story Mother Courage tells.
“The law was made for one thing alone,for the exploitation of those who don’t understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it. And anyone who wants a crumb of this exploitation for himself must obey the law strictly.” ―Bertolt Brecht
Looking farther back, we want to give a very hearty thank you to the cast, crew, advisors, donors and audience members for a very successful summer 2016 staging of Kafka’s The Trial. Nearly 600 people saw our original adaptation of one of the world’s great and difficult novels and the feedback and evaluations were overwhelmingly positive.
The Trial was our most ambitious (and expensive) show to date and cause for both celebration and reflection. We at Fermat’s would like to do more adaptations and stage more than one show per year. What that means is scaling back the scope of what we do – more theater, less overhead/super-structure. More but smaller shows, more great acting, intense, focused and challenging work, creative use of lighting and music. It may mean smaller casts and simpler sets and new and unconventional venues.
So what’s in store for 2017 and 2018? As noted above, we just staged Mother Courage Alone to much acclaim, and are discussing plans for a spring workshop and a possible summer production. As all the Brecht work is still under copyright and we must negotiate with the Brecht estate for a performance license, things can get complicated but we are very excited by the project. In the longer term we’d like to keep this format – summer workshops/readings in fall and spring and a summer play.
Podcasts: there are a number of works – letters, short fiction, scenes, interviews – that would use one or two actors/readers and that we can record and add music tracks to and host on our web site. These are happening!
Socially relevant theater is what we do and we’re committed to that, and that also means keeping all of our shows free. That’s tough and means we have to expand our donor base and transition to a membership/patron model, much like public radio. Grant making agencies can be fickle, Kickstarter campaigns are tougher every year, and our expenses (venue costs, license fees, etc.) are likely to increase.