Since this is the first full length show that I have ever directed, I wanted to select a show that had a little of everything from humor to anger, a manageable set, simple list of characters, props and costumes; and relatively modern. Despite The Gingerbread Lady being written in 1969, it immediately drew me in with its timely and contemporary dialog. Robin Richard (YTI Co-Artistic Director) recommended I read it, as he played Manuel in 1974.....45 years ago! I immediately was drawn in by the writing's bite, wit, sadness, anger, despair and love. The characters are deeply flawed, but have soul and still draw empathy from the audience, despite their shortcomings, through the brutally honest way that they bear themselves to us. After we slough off the unfortunate husk of the occasional bigotry in the dialog, we see the brilliance of Simon shine through every turn of Evy's sharp tongue, Toby's self aggrandizing, Polly's reluctant desire to be like her mother, Jimmy's deep desire for fame and love, and Lou's misguided romanticism.
One of the reasons I chose this play is because of how frank our protagonist, Evy, is with the difficulties of life, and though coarse at times, she has a way of making light of the difficulties we face and tries to find humor in her struggles. This is an admirable quality in my view, and she shows us that if we can sometimes inject a bit of humor into the trials of our existence, maybe we can see ourselves through them a little better, a little sooner, with a little less strife and heartache. She is not always successful in this endeavor but she tries, and that's admirable too.
This show also deals with addiction, another timely feature of a 50 year old work. Rather than sugar coat what addiction might look like, Simon meets it head on with honesty and humor.
I am energized by this cast and crew and could not be more proud of them. These actors couldn't be further from 'type cast' and all of them had to stretch their abilities to see these roles through. For this I am grateful and I thank them for their patience and trust in me as we brought The Gingerbread Lady to life once again on a YTI stage.