Director’s Insight – The Front Page | Stratford Festival 2019

(happy bouncy music) – The Front Page is a
unique balance between a really engaging,
interesting at sometimes dark story (laughs) with
lots of comedy in there, and usually physical comedy in ours. This play takes place in one room, right. One room where Hildy and Burns are sort of dark clowns inside this
world they can’t escape. And so people can play it
for all their might because there’s sort of, no way out of the world and the comedy comes from that. I’m blessed with an amazing cast (laughs) who are very skilled comedians, and very good at the physical side of it. So it seemed to come
naturally out of the story, and really as the play
goes on the momentum churns and churns and gathers pace so the physical comedy comes
a bit out of that as well. There are moments in the original
play where you’re laughing and all of a sudden the rug
gets pulled out and something quite serious happens. And we took that as our
leading point to also sort of bring the racial
issues back into this play and tell a different story, so we’ve created a new
character that wasn’t in the original named Alderman Willoughby, who represents the south side, and we try to put in
elements that are quite stark and with weight in
terms of asking questions about race without any answers, and we’ve tried to bring
gender into this as well, so while still being true to the 20s, we have one female reporter
in that room which is about the max there would’ve
been in a 20s pressroom, but we’ve changed the
traditional big boss character of Walter Burns to Cookie Burns, and I think by broadening the
spectrum of voices in the room both on race and gender, you’re able to allow different sides to comment on an issue, you know? And I think that becomes something that audiences can take away as well. The play has this interesting
way of sort of allowing you those moments of real
weight and then coming right back into the comedy again, it’s this unique mongrel as I called it in my directors notes, it just has this beautiful
balance between the two and there’s an interesting
way to still get important messages forth through laughter and I think that what’s so
unique about The Front Page. It’s not a pure farse, you know, and nor is it a pure
drama it has moments of great weight and truth in it while still maintaining
comedy and it’s what audiences will get a kick out
of when they see this play. (jazzy music)

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