Readers Theatre Repertory shines a new light on an old favorite on May 9-10 with The Bay at Nice, by David Hare: a passionate debate over the nature of art and life. The production features music by Grammy Award-nominated Portland composer Tomas Svoboda (bio below).
The Bay at Nice was first staged in RTR’s theatre home, Blackfish Gallery, in 2002. The space itself inspired director Bob Martinâ€™s choice. “The story takes place in a museum in Leningrad, mid-50s,” he says. “An artist, her daughter, a sanitation worker and an ambitious party member clash in a room full paintings — just the kind of art- inspired arguments and alliances anyone might make in a gallery like Blackfish.”
Martin was interested in revisiting the story six years later with a different cast to explore ways in which the changing times affect the story’s interpretation. “We opened our theatre two months after September 11th,” he says, “and have told our stories in its shadow. In Spring of 2002, when we first staged this play, how did we look at the world? How do we look at it now?”
Including the music of Svoboda is also a family affair. An internationally acclaimed composer, Svoboda is also the husband of Jana Demartini, a noted artist-owner of Blackfish Gallery. Both Svoboda and Demartini are avid fans of RTR, and have attended nearly every production over the past seven seasons. “We’re fans of Tomas and Jana too,” says Martin, “and we’ve had Jana’s paintings as our backdrops many times. This is a chance to enhance our art with Tomas’.”
The cast includes Whitney Egbert, Sharon Knorr, Shelly Lipkin, and Matthew Martin.