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Preston
Triad Stage
Artistic Director, Playwright, Teacher
Recent Activity
New Beginnings Preston’s blog has been taken over (if only momentarily) by his new artistic associate…Bryan Conger…that’s me! I want to thank him for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself to all you bloggers and to give some thoughts on my first two months here at Triad Stage. I have been fortunate enough to call Greensboro home for the last three years while in the MFA directing program at UNCG. I have been fascinated and delighted by the vibrancy of the arts in the city. At the center of that community has been Triad Stage. As an audience member... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2011 at This Little World
I want to thank everyone who got in touch to wish me good health and continued recovery. And I’m happy to report I made it through rehearsals for MASQUERADE without sacrificing a healthy diet and lifestyle. I’m thrilled with the audience response that MASQUERADE has received. I think the play proves a perfect finale for our 10th anniversary, a comic celebration introducing a grand European classic to American audiences in what I hope is an irreverent adaptation that Holberg would enjoy. Comedy like this play can be such an exhausting journey in the rehearsal hall. There is such a demand... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2011 at This Little World
Looking back at my posting here, I’m ashamed at how long it has been. I’m also struck by the irony of the fact I hoped for a better February after the loss of so many wonderful artists in January. Of course, the list of loss kept on growing—I am particularly saddened by the passing of the incomparable Hazel Dickens—but I stopped paying such close attention. Soon after I wrote my last entry, my focus shifted –not to loss of others—but to keeping my own name on the list of the living. On the day of the first preview for THE... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2011 at This Little World
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Let’s hope T.S. Eliot was wrong when he wrote that “April is the cruelest month.…” because I find it difficult to imagine crueler month than January, marred as it has been by the loss of so many artists, friends, mentors and colleagues. I was so saddened to hear of the passing of Marsha Hanna, Artistic Director of The Human Race Theatre Company in Dayton, Ohio. I got to know Marsha when she was the Producing Director of The Human Race/Rhythm In Shoes production of BROTHER WOLF. I spent a weekend in Dayton and was blown away by Marsha’s talent and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2011 at This Little World
2010 is finally over, and up until a week ago, Triad Stage was eerily quiet. The bitter, sardonic memories of Santaland elves and the rambunctious backstage games of Dickensian children gave way to silence and a few hardy souls at work on budgets, new seasons and pre-rehearsal preparations for THE SUNSET LIMITED. The sold out crowds of the final weeks of both of our Holiday shows were replaced by empty lobbies and empty theater seats. But suddenly everything is back in full swing. Paper Lantern Theater Company has a production of END DAYS running in the UpStage Cabaret and rehearsals... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2011 at This Little World
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My most anticipated theater going experience this fall was Ivo van Hove’s production of THE LITTLE FOXES at New York Theater Workshop. He is a director that consistently inspires me and I was overjoyed to see the announcement that he would be returning to NYTW to stage another classic of the American stage. That the performance featured the divine Elizabeth Marvel in the role of Regina was only added inducement to make sure I didn’t miss this production. I believe van Hove is among the most challenging, provocative and deeply authentic directors currently working in the world. He infuriates some... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2010 at This Little World
It is beginning to feel like a very early Christmas here at Triad Stage. The halls are alive with Cratchits, Spirits and Ghosts as we prepare for our first ever CHRISTMAS CAROL. This production is the fulfillment of over ten years of dreaming. From the very first conversations Rich and I shared about Triad Stage, we hoped to include a full scale production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. As long as North Carolina Shakespeare Festival was still brining their production to Greensboro, we didn’t feel it was appropriate for us to mount a competing production. But the dream remained strong and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2010 at This Little World
This past Sunday, many of Triad Stage’s nearest and dearest gathered at the former Ellenburg & Shaffer Glass Studio for a celebration of our 10th Anniversary season. It was a superb evening filled with excellent food, wonderful drinks and dear friends celebrating the success of Triad. Animals from our glass menagerie were the feature of a silent auction and Jeff Polish came over from the Triangle to present a mini version of The Monti. For those of you who haven’t yet experienced The Monti, I encourage you to get a ticket for any of the shows in the Triangle or... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2010 at This Little World
So…. Apologies first: I’m ashamed to recognize my last entry was written in the tropical heat of my Mexican paradise. Those glorious days in Vallarta seem like the distant past as I try to grab a few minutes, collect a few thoughts and get back to regularly keeping you up to date with what’s been happening at Triad Stage. The day after I returned to NC, I was back in the rehearsal hall working on THE GLASS MENAGERIE. Seldom has a play proved as challenging, exciting and compelling as MENAGERIE. All of us who were working on the show felt... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2010 at This Little World
I want to set the scene for the writing of this entry, because I will probably have a much better time writing it than you will reading it. I am lounging in a reclining beach chair atop my 360 degree view private rooftop balcony above my condo a couple of blocks from the beach in breathtakingly beautiful Puerto Vallarta. I have a delicious ice cold hibiscus infused water sitting by my side and I am watching the first hint of one of those glorious Pacific sunsets. For the first time all day, there is a hint of a breeze cutting... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2010 at This Little World
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in New York, a city with which I am engaged in a long term love/hate relationship. I tend to love it more on a glorious fall day or on one of those delicious December afternoons as snow begins to fall. And I tend to hate it most in July. Miserably hot and rancid with the smell of rotting garbage, New York is no place for to spend the summer. But I usually wind up making a couple of visits for casting. This trip was for EDUCATING RITA. The play is going to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2010 at This Little World
Looking back over my last entries, it might appear that somewhere in Clarksdale, MS, I fell off the face of the earth. The reality is less dramatic and has much more to do with the fun of the road trip wearing me out before I found time to write about the road trip. But sitting in a hotel room in Boone on a day off between two events at An Appalachian Summer Festival, I finally have the time to go back over the rest of the trip The Tennessee Williams Road Trip: Day 5 Waking up in Clarksdale, Nick and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2010 at This Little World
Speaking of not seeing the inside of houses associated with famous people, driving out of Tupelo, Nick and I saw the sign for the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum and Park. We had decided that time was short and that we were going to use Tupelo as only a brief overnight, but the sign said it was less than a mile off the highway, so we went. Since it was a Sunday morning and July 4th, the museum and home were closed. Even though I am not really an Elvis fan, there was something deeply moving about the small house, such... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2010 at This Little World
Day 2 I’m a day late posting this because there is little to post—nothing at all literary. A day of driving, outlet mall shopping and BBQ eating on a road often traveled. From the NC border all the way to Tuscaloosa, AL. And there’s nothing literary to report—no famous writer’s birthplace, no setting of a play. Just interstates 85, 20 and 59. And Atlanta-- I guess that’s GONE WITH WIND. But the thing I love most about Atlanta is leaving. I suppose the fact that CRIME AND PUNISWHMENT got banished from the CD because neither of us could concentrate on... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2010 at This Little World
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If you haven’t seen PROVIDENCE GAP, it closes this Sunday. It is already one of our highest grossing shows, has sparked some lively debate in the communit,y and is playing to standing ovations each night. This weekend is also your last chance to catch the late night Durang shows in the UpStage Cabaret and the morning kid show over at Brown Theater on the UNCG campus. Seeing all three demonstrates the enormous talent of the UNCG company. Watching them shift in the course of a few hours from kung fu kittens to Appalachian allegory to Durang’s dark comedy is a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2010 at This Little World
Well, now that opening night has come and gone with its success due to the cast, crew and staff, I wanted to look back at the process that got us there. I realize that I’ve been negligent in keeping up with posting. Partial blame is the long hours of tech, rewriting and re-imagining. But a fair share of the blame falls on technological disasters in my computing world. Thanks to a dreadful little computer virus and an aging laptop, I’ve been without regular computer access for about three weeks now. In some ways this has been fun, forcing me to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2010 at This Little World
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Rehearsals continue. The actors are putting their scripts down. Today we spent much of the eight hours dealing with the first part of act one. As sometimes happens, we ran into a brick wall during the last 20 minutes. A directorial idea that doesn’t seem to be working, so I’m walking around the theater space trying to re-imagine. At least with being playwright and director any ugly fights between the two will be in private. But, I imagine I’ll still be trying to figure out this pivotal scene till the wee hours, so I’ve asked Drew, our dramaturg to speak... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2010 at This Little World
It’s always a satisfying feeling to come to the end of the first week of rehearsal, particularly with a talented cast who throw themselves into the work with generosity and courage. PROVIDENCE GAP is part of Theater 232, our annual festival with UNCG’s Theater program, so we have a mix of professional actors and some of the best of UNCG’s MFA and BFA students. I greatly enjoy seeing the students drop their initial nervousness and embrace the challenges. And I always love watching the older professionals welcome the students and catch a bit of their youthful idealism and passion. I... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2010 at This Little World
The past two days of rehearsal have been a time to read, discuss, question, and explore. This period of table work is one of my favorite parts of rehearsal. We sit in the rehearsal hall around tables and work our way slowly through the script, stopping with questions. We look not so much for answers as for areas we know we will want to fully explore as we get on our feet and begin to find the physical and emotional life of the play. It is a time to get to know the play, the characters, and their world. And,... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2010 at This Little World
And so, we’re off. To PROVIDENCE GAP. A play, a place, a metaphor. This is a journey that continues my writing partnership with Laurelyn Dossett and Triad Stage’s collaboration with UNCG. It’s a journey that is based in the founding concept of Triad Stage—to be a regional theater based in its community, telling the stories of its region. We founded this theater not to show the Triad the theater of New York or to serve as a try out spot for new Broadway plays, not to make theater as cheaply as possible by co-producing mini tours with other regional theaters... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2010 at This Little World
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ETHEL WATERS closed Sunday night to a wildly enthusiastic house. I’m so proud of the show and absolutely delighted that it broke Triad Stage box office records for April/May shows. Our audience was diverse in age, race and background. What a treat to see them come together and share in the story of such a remarkable woman. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house when Cassandra turned to face the image of Ethel in the last moment. A beautiful tribute to two great artists, bound together in that moment as we all celebrated talent, bravery and... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2010 at This Little World
What a fantastic opening we had on Friday for ETHEL WATERS: HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW. The theater was packed and the performance was one of the best in our 10 seasons of creating live theater for the Triad. Cassandra Williams becomes Ethel Waters and her rendition of “Stormy Weather” will haunt you long after the performance is over. I’m so proud of everyone who worked on this production and I hope our community will seize the opportunity to see this remarkable show and learn more about the genius of Ethel Waters. Opening nights are such a time of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2010 at This Little World
I’ve been watching other people’s rehearsals this past week. Between preparing to open our production of ETHEL WATERS: HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW and helping my three MFA directing students as they prepare for their productions of PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE, BUS STOP, and BALM IN GILEAD, I’ve been running back and forth between theaters, rehearsal halls and classrooms. Last night, UNCG faculty member, Triad Stage vocal coach and one of my favorite actresses, Chris Morris and I were in her office searching iTunes for some classic country music for JB’s production of BUS STOP as the second... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2010 at This Little World
I am writing this in Milwaukee. I‘m proud to say that I can now spell Milwaukee. And Wisconsin. Both are very simple when you get the hang of it. The temptation is to add double letters as if you are spelling Mississippi or Minnesota. But Milwaukee and Wisconsin don’t need double letters. They don’t put on airs and show off. They’re just good, solid words describing what has rapidly become, in the space of a very few days, a new favorite city. I didn’t mean to be in Milwaukee this weekend, but with ETHEL WATERS opening at around the same... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2010 at This Little World
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Mar 16, 2010