Thursday, July 20, 2023

Luna Summer Teen Conservatory Presents MIDDLETOWN Aug 4-Aug 6





TICKETS: Tickets are available here; suggested donation is $10.


Luna Stage’s Teen Summer Conservatory celebrates its fifth season this year. Over the course of four weeks, students engage in a conservatory-style training program culminating in a public performance on Luna’s MainStage. The experience encourages teens to forge a meaningful connection to theatre and engage with the community. This year's conservatory production will be Middletown by Will Eno, running August 4-6. 

The production offers a rare opportunity for students to tackle challenging and thought provoking artistic material. Described as “a deeply moving and funny play exploring the universe of a small American town,” Middletown toes the line between the realism of an American classic like Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and the absurdity of playwrights like Samuel Beckett, giving students the opportunity to leap into the current of the contemporary American Theatre in an exciting way. 

For director Sean Dougherty, the choice of Middletown was based on both artistic and learning goals, touching on the core tenets of theatre education and its connection to student growth: “From beginning to end, this is a learning opportunity for these kids. The victory for them (and me) will be in the discovery of how intentional application of their whole selves reveals more questions than answers, but in turn inspires curiosity and the joy of investigation.” 

“So much of our lives happen to us,” Dougherty continues “If we can learn to create characters that ‘do,’ we can perhaps learn to participate more in our creation of self, be it onstage or in life…It is a play that affords young actors chances to draw from their lived experiences AND project themselves into imagined experiences and firm points of view divergent from their own, so that they may learn how to apply themselves to ‘walking in someone else's shoes,’ while making those shoes feel like their own.”

For the whole team, taking on a newer play like Middletown is full of unique challenges, but also unique advantages. “I like to find a fairly contemporary play that the young artists are unlikely to have seen or read before so that they may come to it freshly, with no roadmap or feeling of a ‘right’ way to do it,” Dougherty explains. 

Luna Stage is proud to offer sliding scale tuition for participants in the education programs, as part of their long-held commitment to equity and to ensuring that the entire community has access to live theatre and arts education. Performances of Middletown will be held Friday and Saturday 8/4, 8/5 @ 7:30 pm, and Sunday 8/6 @ 2pm, at Luna Stage, 555 Valley Rd, West Orange, NJ 07052.