three poems by Anne Sexton in speech and song
Directed by Jim Petosa
Sharing the experience of life in the extreme is the stuff of poetry.
Expressed through the voice – an experiment in speech and song – we can discover something about the endurance of Anne Sexton’s complex journey. The enfleshment of her poetry through speech, song, and performance breathes life into those words, even as the poet, herself, makes an ultimate exit.
Presented in collaboration with Boston University Opera Institute, William Lumpkin, Director.
Theater credits: The Winter’s Tale (Hermione), King Lear (Regan), All’s Well That Ends Well (Lord II and Mariana), Measure for Measure (Isabella), Richard III (Rivers, Mayor, and Second Murderer), Actors’ Shakespeare Project; Metamorphoses (Juno), Teatro Eos in Stromboli, Italy, and Teatro Nacional at the Great Theatre of the World Festival in Lisbon, Portugal, the Wimberly Theatre with BU; Scenes from an Execution (Galactia), Much Ado about Nothing (Beatrice), The Tempest (Miranda), Shakespeare & Company; Taming of the Shrew (Kate), Boston Theatre Works; Twelfth Night (Maria), Counterpoint Theatre;Twelfth Night (Feste), Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company; King Lear (Edgar), Henry V (Bardolph, Westmoreland, Michael Williams, and Captain James), Company of Women. Other: LaMama e.t.c., New York Theatre Workshop, Hasty Pudding, Charles Playhouse, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Nora Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, Coyote Theatre. Film: summer 2005 documentary Giving Voice: An Actor’s Journey with Kristin Linklater.
Gilda Lyons (b. 1975) wrote this set of unaccompanied songs to text by Anne Sexton (1928-1974). Lyons is both a composer and soprano and gave the premiere of these pieces herself in NYC in 2003. Lyons lives in Rhinebeck and is a graduate of Bard College. She received her Ph.D. In Music Composition from SUNY Stony Brook. The poems have many of the hallmark themes of Sexton’s confessional style, exploring subjects of motherhood, marriage, mental illness, and institutionalization. For Sexton, who struggled with mental illness for much of her adult life, poetry was a therapeutic practice. Lyons notes that Maxine Kumin, a poet and close friend of Sexton’s, once wrote that though Sexton eventually took her own life, “poetry kept Anne alive for the eighteen years of her creative endeavors. When everything else soured…the making of poems remained her one constant.”
Jim Petosa is Professor Emeritus with Boston University’s College of Fine Arts. He served as a professor and as director of the BU School of Theatre from 2002 – 2018. He also served as artistic director of the Boston region’s New Repertory Theatre from 2012 – 2018. Petosa has directed Tom Stoppard and André Previn’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at NYC’s Town Hall and the operas Carmen (Peter Brook adaptation) and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat among others. PTP/NYC credits include Monster, Spatter Pattern, A Question of Mercy, Therese Raquin, Somewhere in the Pacific, Marisol, Dog Plays, Statements After an Arrest, Good, Brecht on Brecht, among others. He also served as Artistic Director for the Olney Theatre Center, where directing credits include Democracy, Racing Demon, Brooklyn Boy, Copenhagen, The Laramie Project, Art, The Miracle Worker, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (won a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Musical Production), Theatre J’s Collected Stories (received a Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Direction), and Look! We Have Come Through! (Charles MacArthur New Play nomination, Co-created with Carole Graham Lehan). A member of the Actor’s Equity Association and the Society of Directors and Choreographers, and the Becket Arts Center Board, he teaches acting and directs for the Boston University Opera Institute.
Courtney Smith is a scenic, media designer, and technician for live performance. He is currently the Production Designer for the Department of Theatre at Middlebury College. Courtney’s designs have received several Meritorious Achievement Awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Additionally, his work received a “Distinguished Achievement Award in Scenic Design” from the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
Credits include Potomac Theatre Project (NY), Warren Miller Performing Arts Center (MT), Southwark Playhouse (UK), The Bushwick Starr (NY), Roundabout Theatre Company (NY), New York City Opera (NY), Playwrights Horizons (NY), Classic Stage Company (NY), Cedar Lake Dance (NY), Marvel Repertory Theatre (NY), Mount Baker Repertory Theatre (WA), Montana Shakespeare in the Parks (MT), Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre (ID), and Idaho Repertory Theatre (ID).
Courtney is a member of United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) and received his MFA in scenic design from the University of Idaho.
Kevin Dunn is a Lighting designer based in Boston, Massachusetts. Recent design credits include Our Town (The Barnstormers Theatre), The Half Life of Marie Curie (BU School of Theatre), Mansfield Park (BU Opera Institute), and I Am Antigone (Theatre for the New City). They have been the recipient of the Don Childs Award for Excellence from the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas and an Honorable mention for the KCACTF Barbizon Award for Excellence in Lighting Design at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. They received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in theatrical design from Salem State University and are currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in lighting design at Boston University.
Devin Wein is thrilled to be a part of her sixth PTP season. Off-Broadway credits include: The Havel Plays, The After Dinner Joke, No End of Blame, and Pity in History (Potomac Theatre Project), Two By Friel, Three Small Irish Masterpieces, Rebel in the Soul, and The Dead, 1904 (Irish Repertory Theatre), Ironbound and Undeniable Sound of Right Now (Women’s Project and Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre), Phalaris’ Bull (Theatre Row), Allegro (Classic Stage Company), Scenes From a Marriage (New York Theatre Workshop), Threepenny Opera (Atlantic Theatre Company). Regional: The Underpants, The Whale Song, and Devilfish (Perseverance Theatre), Legacy and The Visit (Williamstown Theatre Festival).
Caroline Armour is excited to participate in her first season of PTP. She has performed in A Monster Calls, Mamma Mia, Find Me, Alice in Wonderland, and A Streetcar Named Desire. Caroline went on to become the Assistant Director for A Midsummer Nights Dream, In The Heights, Spring Awakening, Lord of the Flies, Puffs, and Matilda. Previously she wrote and directed a production of Something Wicked This Way Comes, and a stage interpretation of The Office. Caroline is currently working on her BA in Theater and French at Middlebury College.
Gibson Grimm is a Theatre and Film double major at Middlebury College from Jacksonville, Florida. His Middlebury acting credits include Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, She Kills Monsters, Giants Have Us in Their Books, The Bacchae 2.1, Untitled Romantic Comedy, Working, and the First Year Show. He recently directed I and You. Outside the department, he is a member of Middlebury Discount Comedy, is a Social Activities Co-Chair for MCAB, and co-hosts a radio show.
◊ member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
º member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829