This Stretch of Montpelier: In this South Louisiana neighborhood, just past the intersection where Ghosts from the Past cross Hopes for the Future, lies This Stretch of Montpelier. Written by Kelley Nicole Girod and directed by Andrew Block, this engrossing piece is presented by The Fire This Time Festival & Frigid NYC, benefiting Gulf Restoration Network.
There are many things that make this a a special night in the theater. One is one of its actresses. Tandy Cronyn continues a great tradition started by her famed father, Hume Cronyn and mother, Jessica Tandy.
It was a pleasure to speak with her about her current production and what lies ahead.
Tell us about yourself as an artist
I had my head turned by The Guthrie Theater in it’s inaugural season under Tyrone Guthrie. I was still in high school but spent the summer in Minneapolis and hung around rehearsals. I actually got to watch Guthrie direct. They were doing rotating classical repertory: Shakespeare one night, Moliere or Chekhov the next, a contemporary classic the next. The company was extraordinarily versatile, stepping not only into contrasting roles but also different styles from night to night. And they were doing great plays. I always wanted to do that kind of work, and occasionally I’ve had the privilege. Not many companies in America do rotating rep – it requires a large company and is very expensive – so I’ve grabbed the chance whenever it presented itself: Denver Center Theater Company in it’s first couple of seasons, Stratford Festival of Canada, The Old Globe in San Diego, Illinois Shakespeare Festival.
A truly illustrious start! Now, tell us something interesting about your character in the show. Maybe something we wouldn’t necessarily notice.
Kacky is something quite different for me, although I have never had a “type” in the roles I’ve played over the years. While she appears to be completely dominated by her best friend, there is something a bit passive-aggressive going on beneath the surface. It’s been quite fascinating for me, digging into this role.
That’s great. In terms of digging into a character, festivals have a very particular way of working. How did it feel to work in a festival atmosphere?
This is my third Festival experience and I’ve had an interesting time with all of them – The NY Fringe, The United Solo Festival and now Planet Connections. Short rehearsal time and tech restrictions as well as odd rehearsal spaces are challenging, but it’s a great way to get new work out there. And in part because of the tech and time limitations, actors, directors and designers are thrown back on their own creativity which can be quite an adventure. The focus goes to the bare bones of the writing, directing and performing – not a bad trade-off.
Did you grow up in the theater or was it something separate from your daily life?
I was deeply immersed in theater from my teens on – early childhood I stayed home with a nanny. Once I was bitten by the theater bug, around twelve or thirteen, I paid great attention, seeing landmark productions, meeting and listening to wonderful theater professionals, soaking up everything around me. I was very fortunate.
What’s next for you?
I want to get back to my solo show, THE TALL BOY (see my website www.tandycronyn.com)
And I have a very interesting book to record as soon as THIS STRETCH OF MONTPELIER is finished.
And that happens in just a few short weeks …
Flamboyán Theater @ The Clemente
Thursday 7/19 @5:45pm-7:15pm
Saturday 7/21 @8:30pm-10:00pm
Wednesday 7/25 @7:15pm-8:45pm
Sunday 7/29 @ 7:00pm-8:30pm
Saturday 8/4 @9:30pm-11:00pm
Sunday 8/5 @2:00pm-3:30pm
Spend a hot summer day along a stretch of South Eastern Louisiana road, where tradition clashes with change, and neighbors intertwine. Facing gentrification, integration, racism, homophobia, and colliding generations, ghosts from the past dance with uncertainties of the future for an imperfect and vibrant culture who seek to understand how to live together in a changing society, in a place that has always moved at its own pace.