Dec 16 2014
The following post was written by Artistic Casting Intern Hattie Andres.
Four years ago, playwright Robert Schenkkan sat down with Seattle Rep leaders and planted the seed for what would turn into one of the largest projects in the theatre’s history. Artistic Director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) Bill Rauch had commissioned Schenkkan to write a play about the America’s 36th president, Lyndon B. Johnson, and the ambitious playwright was already dreaming of a sequel. As Seattle Rep commissioned that second part, it was decided that although the two plays, All The Way and The Great Society, would have their world premiers at OSF, Seattle would produce both plays together for the first time. Rotating back and forth between two plays is a practice referred to as “performing in repertory,” which Seattle audiences and actors rarely get to experience.
In a typical Seattle Rep show, actors maintain an impressive schedule of eight performances a week. That alone is enough to keep a performer busy; however, the cast of the LBJ plays is pulling double duty, performing eight shows a week but also switching back and forth between Schenkkan’s two separate plays. Throughout the run of the LBJ plays, there are six “marathon days” where the actors perform both All The Way and The Great Society in one day. The ability to pull off this historic feat is the product of a complex and dedicated creative process with the acting company.