Peggy McKowen

Taking Time to Dream

As Associate Producer for CATF I spend 10 months working with Ed Herendeen to plan, organize and facilitate “the art” and programming. I spend 10 months, organizing calendars and schedules; hiring artists and staff; streamlining production and department budgets and plotting for 80 + people to join us in June.

Most importantly I work with our artists to ensure that they have the best collaboratively artistic experience possible.  And occasionally, I assume the role of artist.  This year I’m designing the scenery for From Prague by Kyle Bradstreet and the costumes for our 2011 Commission, The Insurgents by Lucy Thurber.

Yep, I wear those artistic hats while I’m game-planning for the Festival-at-large. On the one hand I’m telling the designer in me to CREATE while on the other hand the festival producer in me is thinking this is only one set design in the context of a five show repertory. Ironically as an administrator I’m telling other artists to DREAM first and then later  resolve with the Festival team and collaborative process “the fit” of a show into the “whole” of the repertory. I feel a bit like Mrs. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde.

Fortunately, I work with a great Producer who says to me when I’m wearing my designer hat, “I love it when you talk art…just create, dream…” And, that’s what I’ve tried to do this week – TAKE TIME TO DREAM about the world of From Prague.

From the script by Kyle Bradstreet:


A ruined, crumbling church. As if God were only a memory.  It is December, and a light snow has recently fallen about the stage.

“She wore a white and grey scarf. Transparent. Looked like snow on a sad day.”

“Me on the floor, her on the sofa wrapped in the translucent snow.”

“You know what I mean by shuffling, right? Dragging my feet like this so you leave a trail in the snow. Evidence that you were there, goddam it.  You feel immortal for a bit, looking at that path behind you.”

So I ask myself what do my memories of trails in the snow look like?  What does snow look like during joyous or painful moments as I remember?  What does it look like in the light of a growing dawn?  And, the people that make up those moments, how do they color my snowy world? And how do I create this world – a world of memories that seduce the audience from the moment they arrive at the theater?

Yes, you’re right…From Prague may have snow in it…but what kind?

This gives you a taste of where my thoughts are going.  Next week I’ll put those images into textures, colors, shapes…and what I think will be a huge element, scale. More as I continue to dream; as I bounce back and forth between shows and as I juggle the activity between the two sides of my brain.  Yeah, I know…wish me luck.

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