Christy Summerhays on directing A/VERSION OF EVENTS

Christy Summerhays in Matthew Ivan Bennett’s MESA VERDE (2011)

Christy Summerhays has acted regularly for Plan-B over the past decade, including Matthew Ivan Bennett’s MESA VERDE. She also directed PETER AND THE WOLF, Plan-B’s inaugural Free Elementary School Tour.

Ironically, one of the first obstacles I found myself facing when preparing to direct A/VERSION OF EVENTS was to allow myself have my own “version” of this play Matthew Ivan Bennett had written. I knew I must allow the piece to speak to me through the particular lens that was my own and that I had to honor that as best I could. That was my job. A well-written play always has a wealth of information to spark your imagination and this piece had much to say from the very beginning. Though it might not have come easy, ultimately, we got along very well and I was able to feel confident going into our first rehearsal . . . where the next “version” of the play was to be added – the actors. They would bring their own point of view – and who knew what would come of that! Exciting!

Latoya Rhodes as Hannah and Carleton Bluford as Cooper in Matthew Ivan Bennett’s A/VERSION OF EVENTS

This piece is about a married couple – two very strong individuals who have suffered a terrible tragedy and now must navigate their way through it. At its core is the universal theme of grief and, with it, the varied ways each of us copes with grief. Sometimes we laugh through it, sometimes we shut down, and sometimes we let it all hang out. Matt has explored all of these colors through the characters of Hannah and Cooper.

Latoya Rhodes as Hannah and Carleton Bluford as Cooper in Matthew Ivan Bennett’s A/VERSION OF EVENTS

Now that we’re about to open the play, we will be adding the final “version” – that of the audience. I think more than with any other play I’ve directed I’m interested to hear the stories and feelings that will inevitably be brought to the surface for those who see it. Each person will experience it through his or her own lens – just as I had to do in my preparation as a director. This building process is one of the things I love most about theatre – the other is a play that looks honestly at human behavior under extreme conditions. A/VERSION OF EVENTS is one of these plays. It’s what makes theatre good and worthwhile – and for that matter, life as well.

Matthew Ivan Bennett’s A/VERSION OF EVENTS receives its world premiere March 5-15, 2015 at Plan-B Theatre, featuring Carleton Bluford and Latoya Rhodes under the direction of Christy Summerhays. Click here for more information and tickets.

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