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Author: Stebos

Stebos is a stage director, producer, dramaturg, and teaching artist based in New York City in the United States.

Commedia!

When I attended Antonio Fava's specialization course in Commedia dell'Arte in July/August 2009 it was a blast and I brought back that enthusiasm to the States. When I taught this course for the first time as a First Year Seminar a month later, the initial group of freshmen grew from 11 to 16 by word of mouth during the first days of classes. Everyone had a great time and another iteration of this course is scheduled for the Fall 2011 semester. Read more

The Liar by Carlo Goldoni

Kline Theatre, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA.
The Theatre Arts Department at Gettysburg College asked me to direct a mainstage production during the 2008-09 season. Thus, I adapted and translated the play into English in collaboration with Susan Russell, Chair and Professor of Theater Arts. The action was set in contemporary California and the Italian aristocracy was transformed into its American counterpart based on wealth.
Also, in line with Goldoni's biography, I imagined that the playwright himself was writing in a haste, in order to keep his promise of delivering as many as 16 new comedies during a single season, and thus win a bet against his competitors. Since everything was being created on the spot, the actors received their parts page after page and the set itself was brought in piece by piece and moved around as the play developed. You can read more in my director's notes here.
Since we were dealing with lying at its "best", I asked each member of the production to write a biographical note with a twist, and include a half lie and a full-blown one. You can read the entire program here: try to find the lies! Some are really funny and you can probably tell without knowing the person directly.
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#FFCC00fadetrue

The Season's Playbill

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#FFCC00fadetrue

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Ohio lmpromptu by Samuel Beckett

Some obscure black-box room in snowy Madison, Wisconsin
In this theoretically infused production I worked with Stephen O’Connell, a talented MFA actor, to deconstruct the idea of “presence” by having the actor play both parts of the play, first in front of a mirror, then to a video of himself previously recorded.
Below you can find both the final product and a series of steps that led to it. For a director, the process is at least as important as the “end” result.

Final presentation

Rehearsals

The first day of rehearsal was a lot about finding various approaches to the text in a constant process of exploration, starting with the alliterative sounds in the play. Although the video is not always in focus – directing and filming at the same time is not advised 😉 – this rehearsal demonstrates a post-modern style of acting/directing that does not ever come to a closure, while at the same time never giving up on potential further meanings. It also details the game of mirrors that will produce the final video.
The second day we tried to gauge the boundaries of the text, from a jazz version to a more expressive one with words only, up until an esoteric experiment of inner displacement in front of a mirror (first part). Finally we tapped into the forces of the four elements: water, air, fire, earth with surprising results (second part).
The third day’s rehearsal tried to blend all layers previously explored, but was also mostly devoted to figuring out how to record a video of the Listener to be played, later, to the same actor playing the Reader.
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Alexis by Marguerite Yourcenar

S. Giovanni Bosco Theatre. Modena, and San Martino Theatre. Bologna, Italy
By special arrangement with the Yourcenar Estate, I presented thhis monologue within the context of “La manica tagliata” (The Cut Sleeve) an LGBT festival, with Francesco Stella as the protagonist. Since the piece is particularly long, it offered a challenging field for experimentation in the areas of dramaturgy, storytelling, and composition.

Hover to see inside of program
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La Traviata from Giuseppe Verdi and Alexandre Dumas

Teatro del Tempo, Parma, Italy
For this dinner theatre show, I combined scenes from Verdi’s opera and Dumas’ La Dame aux camélias, with music played by an ensemble directed by Alessandro Nidi (Parma Conservatory). Two sets of performers, four actors and three singers, led the audience into the depths of passion as seen through the different conventions of spoken and musical theatre. The show had a lot of coverage in the newspapers and on TV since it was held during the year of the celebrations for the first centenary of Verdi's death.
Read a series of articles published by the newspaper Gazzetta di Parma including a glowing review by Valeria Ottolenghi here. (in Italian, translations coming soon...)
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#FFCC00fadetrue
Here is an 11 minute promo of the show:
Hover to see inside of program
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Tribute to George Gershwin – An American in Paris

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona (from Shakespeare)

Teatro del Tempo, Parma, Italy.
I was called by Numeriprimi, a company of young actors who had just graduated from a professional course supported by the European Union. I chose The Two Gentlemen of Verona based both on the composition of the group and the script’s opportunities for experimenting with physical theater. Each song is a Shakespearean sonnet, translated into Italian. With original music by Marco Caronna, played by Luca Savazzi, the show came to resemble a musical.
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#FFCC00fadetrue
Below you find both an 8 minute promo video and, if you have a fast connection, the two parts of the full show:

Promo

Part 1

Part 2

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The Giants of the Mountain by Luigi Pirandello

Teatro del Tempo, Parma, Italy.
With members of the Numeriprimi Company, I organized a public lecture about Pirandello's The Giants of the Mountain (I giganti della montagna) for the students of the Italian Lit course at the University of Parma (Prof. Marzio Pieri). It included a dramatized reading, with actors working vocally to portray the many roles each of them was called to play. While stage directions were read aloud, a visual artist drew each character on a large sheet, building up to the impressive final scene where each of them was visible simultaneously around the theatre.
Read an article published by the Gazzetta di Parma (in Italian) here
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The Seagull (A Fragment) from Chekhov

Stanislavsky's House Museum, Moscow, Russia
The final directing project of the professional development “School after Theater” session held in Moscow consisted in choosing a short section of Chekhov's The Seagull to be performed as an entire show. I worked with four actors from the Swedish National Theatre, plus many master class participants who were called to embody the dreams and expectations of the protagonists in the background. I directed in English, while the performance was in Swedish: despite the short (but intense) rehearsal time, I was impressed by the combination of focus and flexibility demonstrated by the players, which resulted in a really crisp performance. Plus, this was even more exciting as it was held in Stanislavsky’s own “chamber theatre.”

A close-up of Stanislavsky's portait

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Hamlet in Raimondo's Castle (from Shakespeare)

Montecuccoli Tower, Pavullo and Monteceneri Tower, Lama Mocogno, Modena, Italy
This site-specific Hamlet summer project was held at two historical locations, very different spatially, a remodeled castle that normally functioned as a museum hall and a multi-level medieval tower near Modena, Italy. I directed Act III in a postmodern experimental way: for instance, the dialogue between Hamlet and the Queen (scene 4) occurred three times, in separate versions that spanned the range between ironic detachment and intense emotional involvement. Overall, my interpretation of the whole act derived by a sense that every character is constantly under surveillance and every scene is being watched by someone else within the world of the play. For the same project, I appeared as one of the play-within-the play masked actors.
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