Often the best is over before we know it. This is especially true of theater and dance, where astounding productions will vanish after two or three performances, lost but for the lucky few who took a chance on the unknown. Even the well-publicized and reviewed eventually fade away. It’s a brutal equation, and works against art’s power to gain traction over time. A novel, film, or poem will wait for you, but the theater waits for no one.
At Shotgun Players this month, there are such things as second chances.
In a normal year, Shotgun Players’ 2016 season would be a fantastic memory: five great productions, three of them -- Hamlet, The Village Bike, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? -- sharp takes on superb, daring plays. But starting Nov. 25, Shotgun reprises these productions and more in true repertory fashion, with the company rotating between the season's plays -- sometimes up to five in one week.
Instead of casting from play to play, artistic director Patrick Dooley has assembled an excellent group of actors, many of them Shotgun veterans, and created a true ensemble. This is an audacious and unusual move in today's performing arts climate where the repertory theater model, once vital, has mostly become a thing of the past. It's ridiculously demanding of the actors -- many of whom will play several different roles in the course of a few days -- not to mention everyone behind the scenes.
Shotgun's present season is not just a trick or a dazzling stunt of acting and production. It is, more importantly, a way of thinking about what a season of theater means. We always look back and reflect, and yet that distance filters and distorts. Shotgun has narrowed the gap so that we can feel the logic and organization of the company's choices in the most visceral way possible.