sábado, 27 de enero de 2018

‘Only Yesterday’: John Lennon and Paul McCartney to make Vermont debut

‘Only Yesterday’: John Lennon and Paul McCartney to make Vermont debut
January 27, 2018

Jim Lowe / Staff photo
From left, Tommy Crawford is Paul McCartney and Christopher Sears, John Lennon, in rehearsal for Northern Stage’s “Born Yesterday,” premiering Jan. 31-Feb. 18 in White River Junction.

Television writer Bob Stevens has been an ardent Beatles fan since the Fab Four made its American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 – joining some 73 million other viewers that night.

“Just a few years ago, I was driving around and heard an interview with Paul McCartney, and I thought that I had heard everything,” Stevens says. “He referred to this one particular night where, during the 1964 American tour, their second tour, there was a hurricane and they wound up being stranded in a motel room with nothing to do, all this time on their hands. They got really drunk and wound up crying.

“I just thought, ‘What?!’ What is that about?” Stevens says. “He went on to talk about what led to that. And I just thought, that sounds like a play, two guys in a motel room for an entire day and night – except they’re two of the most famous young men in the world.”

Northern Stage, the Upper Valley’s professional theater company, will present the premiere of Stevens’ “Only Yesterday” Jan. 31-Feb. 18, at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction.

“Bob has written a valentine to John Lennon and Paul McCartney,” says Carol Dunne, Northern Stage’s artistic director who is directing the play. “He opens the door for all of us to get to know the young boys behind the music. The journey of the play is hilariously funny and heartbreakingly real.”

Jim Lowe / Staff photo
Olivia Swayze is Shirley Knapp, a 13-year-old Beatles fan stuck in the motel’s air duct, in “Born Yesterday.”

Northern Stage cultivated this piece in its 2014 and 2017 New Works Now new play festivals. Stevens, who has written for “The Wonder Years,” “Murphy Brown” and “Malcolm in the Middle,” imagines that little-known night when John Lennon and McCartney were just becoming the most famous young men on earth.

“The more I researched, the more interesting stuff came out,” Stevens said in an interview between rehearsals. “It was kind of a labor of love.”

Stevens already had extensive experience writing for characters’ voices, whether it was Fred Savage on “The Wonder Years” or Candace Bergen on “Murphy Brown.”

“You hear the voice in your head, and of course, we can all hear John and Paul in our heads,” Stevens said. “They were so familiar that they came to me naturally, hearing them, and knowing their sense of humor, and the way they would react to things.

“And then it was just the notion of building to this emotional peak at the end that gave me an entire structure,” Stevens said. “We would have the fun of the Beatles we know and loved, and then build to what Paul referred to as an emotional landmark in his life.”

Stevens feels that this one event substantially changed the way they were writing their music.

“They went from kind of writing for teenyboppers to becoming artists, really,” he said. “And we can trace it back to an emotionally cathartic evening.”

Stevens aimed at making the dialogue, though imagined, feel authentic.

“That’s one of the things that I absolutely loved,” he said. “I actually immersed myself in my research, coming across all these British and Liverpool phrases. They were just so fun: ‘Throwing a wobbly’ is having a tantrum; their version of ‘it takes the cake’ is ‘it takes the biscuit.’ I just sort of absorbed these things and they just sort of naturally became integrated.”

Apparently he was successful.

“It was originally a one-act play and it went to Liverpool, and they thought I was British,” Stevens said.

For Stevens, this was an important moment in music history.

“We all know what’s coming, and it’s not good,” he said. But this is a moment when they loved each other, they were puppies – they were 23 years old. This was all new to them.”

Stevens also gives credit to Northern Stage for the play’s development.

“Over coffee, Carol suggested turning it into a full-length play and adding music,” Stevens said. “I had sort of secretly thought the same thing, so I found a kindred spirit here.”

A complimentary post-show reception with the cast follows the opening night performance Feb 3. Free post-show conversations with the cast and crew will follow Feb. 4-17 performances. And a free “Spot On” conversation with Stevens will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4 (reservations through the box office are requested).

Northern Stage

Northern Stage presents the premiere of “Only Yesterday,” by Bob Stevens, Jan. 31-Feb. 18, at the Barrette Center for the Arts, 74 Gates St. in White River Junction. Tickets are $34-$59, $15 for students; for schedule, tickets or information, call 802-296-7000, or go online to www.northernstage.org.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario