Polly White is thrilled to be back at SLT after an extended hiatus. The past recipient of SLT Ginny Awards for directing and light design, she has directed on many of the area stages as well as working with YATS periodically from 2001-2008.
Polly took time from rehearsals to tell us a little about herself.
Q: What was your earliest involvement in theatre?
WHITE: Aside from home, elementary, and high school, I definitely returned to theater in undergraduate school.
Q: What attracted you to theatre to begin with?
WHITE: I have always loved the performing arts, as far back as childhood when our school would go on field trips to see an orchestra or live play. The excitement of watching the live performance instilled a life-long love, which still exists today.
Q: What is it about theatre that holds your interest today?
WHITE: The idea of taking a black stage and creating a world that excites the senses of the audience, and tells a story that is unique each time it's performed is challenging and rewarding.
Q: What are some of your favorite plays?
WHITE: Of course, Shakespeare comes to mind when thinking of favorite plays, but when I turned 13, my grandmother took me to NYC to see Stop the World, I Want To Get Off, with Anthony Newley. Another favorite play was The King and I with Yul Brenner.
Q: What play do you think people should see, but probably haven’t?
WHITE: I won't presume to say what people should see, other than to see something that would touch their emotions.
Q: What was the first show you ever directed?
WHITE: The first play I ever directed, aside from one acts as class projects, was Edward Albee's Seascape. I was asked by my major professor at SLU to direct a play in the theatre department's season in place of a professor who was ill and had to take a sabbatical. I was the first student to direct in a professor's slot at SLU. We turned the Bonnie Vorden stage into a beach!
Q: What is your vision for The Snow Queen?
WHITE: My vision for the play is to have the story evolve on stage from Hans Christian Andersen’s book of stories. The premise of the story is told by the Hobgoblin in the beginning and the audience follows Gerda, as she travels great distances and over several seasons to rescue her brother Karl, from the Snow Queen. She has taken him to her castle in hopes to keep him with her forever.
In her travels, Gerda experiences many magical and enchanting creatures: Flowers and animals that can talk, a prince and princess, as well as a robber King and his robber band. She travels over many lands until she finally arrives at the Snow Queen's frozen castle.
We are going to be adding a new theatrical experience for our audience by incorporating puppets into the production. Our puppeteers are excited to be learning how to bring to life these additions.
Along with the addition of puppetry, moving the play through seasons and different places is going to be a challenge.
Also, our actors are learning lyrics to music adapted from music by Edvard Grieg, which is somewhat of a challenge. However, my cast is more than up to these challenges, and excited to create this magical story for our audience.