Austin Theatre: That was the year that was
Three of Austin's finest theatre folk - director/actress Lorella Loftus, director Sonnet Blanton, and lighting designer Jason Amato - describe how 2006 was for them and the local stage scene
Austin Chronicle: How would you define yourself within the context of Austin theatre?
Sonnet Blanton: The loudest? I don't go anywhere without my bullhorn. Literally.
Lorella Loftus: I suppose you could say that I bring European classics to Austin and interpret them with a Celtic sensibility. By classics, I mean period, modern, contemporary, or avant-garde authors who are leaders in their particular genre.
Jason Amato: Lighting designer and artist and hopefully not as poor tomorrow as I am today.
AC: What was your greatest accomplishment of 2006?
Blanton: Getting to work with the actors, designers, and production staff of The Assumption. I was consistently astonished by the creativity, discipline, and heart that they brought to the process from start to finish. I think we all fell a little bit in love with one another.
Loftus: 4:48 Psychosis, by Sarah Kane, co-produced with the Vortex. I was overjoyed to have Bonnie Cullum as a collaborator. It took me the best part of two years before the Kane estate would grant me the rights to this closely guarded piece. Kane was an absolute master of text.
Amato: I got engaged [to Michelle Fowler], and she didn't have a clue. As we paddled up to the Lamar Street pedestrian bridge in a canoe, a crew of my closest friends dropped 200 red tulips into the water around us and then lowered a basket of champagne and strawberries into the boat while I popped the question.
AC: What was the most exciting thing you saw/heard on an Austin stage in 2006?
Blanton: I thought Thrush was beautiful, so beautiful. Doug Taylor made me swoon in Have You Ever Been Assassinated? But I have to go with two performances in The Assumption: Ron Berry and Travis Hale. They gave two of the most oddly riveting performances I've ever seen.
Loftus: The most exciting thing I saw in 2006 was St. Nicholas at Hyde Park Theatre. This was a low-budget, low-production-values piece that nonetheless totally created another world and immersed the audience in it. This was a brave undertaking by Ken Webster.
Amato: Blue Lapis Light's Requiem at the soon-to-be-dead Intel building. The show was unlike anything we've seen before. Sally Jacques takes a dream of beauty and opens it up to all of us. I also have to talk about Urinetown at Zachary Scott Theatre. It was such a wonderfully absurd, ludicrous mirror of American attitudes today. Dave Steakley and Robin Lewis did a fantastic job. Apparently, if you combine 100,000 watts of the most hideous yellow and green light, you can make a lot of people laugh really hard.