ACT presents The Shop Around the Corner
Preparations for ACT’s latest show, The Shop Around the Corner are under way. Matuschek & Co., the store and primary setting for the play, is under construction. Crew members are gathering props to fill the shop. Actors are learning their lines and choreography. Although the rehearsal process occurs over just a few months, it has actually taken years for The Shop Around the Corner to make it to the stage.
“I have always loved the movie, and have wanted to do a theatrical presentation of it for a long time,” says Mariève MacGregor, director of the show. It has taken her over three years to make it happen. “The Shop Around the Corner is a movie from the 1940s and no matter how much I searched, I could not find a script for it anywhere, despite it’s many incarnations and versions.” This is why MacGregor has transcribed the movie, word for word, to create a script for use on the stage. After painstakingly writing out and editing the film script, she had a number of people read over her transcription to ensure it was seamless.
As the show is the first staged production of this script, MacGregor has welcomed the actors’ input into making adjustments to parts of the script and staging, which make the scenes and transitions flow more smoothly. “There’s a process to creating a newly staged show which involves trial and error, and trying different things to see what works,” says MacGregor. “Just because it made sense on the page, doesn’t mean it will make sense in real time. It’s been a great experience working the material with this talented, enthusiastic group of people who are all really rising to the challenge. We’ve got a lot of experienced, thoughtful, intelligent people in this show, and I’d be a fool not to incorporate their input and ideas. That’s what gives a show depth and personality. It’s not just my show, it’s our show.”
“We don’t have the luxury of editing, the way that movies do,” says MacGregor, specifically noting that showing the changing of the seasons in a matter of seconds isn’t as easy to do. To help show the passage of time and seasons, MacGregor tapped into years as a dancer and choreographer to created uniquely staged dance scenes which help move the play along.
Of the show MacGregor says, “It deals with some very heavy subjects but still manages to be light and funny without being dismissive of those darker issues. It shows the perseverance of the human spirit, even in the face of hardships. The themes are timeless, and equally as relevant today as they were in the 1930s.”
The Shop Around the Corner has a cast of more than 20 people. It is directed by Mariève MacGregor and produced by Grace Kimpinski.