Working on a World Premiere
Pigeon Creek’s first full, touring production since the pandemic started is not Shakespeare, but the world premiere of a brand new play script, Blue-Eyed Hag by Jim Lair Beard.
During the time that most theatre had moved online, and in-person performance was next to impossible because of Covid transmission rates, our company had the privilege to premiere three brand new radio play scripts: Arlo Whittaker and the Twelfth Night Murder and Arlo Whittaker and the Petruchio Problem, both by David Taylor Little; and The Gospel of Friar Tuck by Mike Nichols. Performances of these scripts can be found on our Youtube channel.
We also had the opportunity to do a private Zoom reading of Blue-Eyed Hag for the playwright, who was looking for actors to read his scripts out loud, one of the most important parts of the playwriting process. After our preparation for the reading, we approached Jim about doing a live production of his wonderful play.
Blue-Eyed Hag does a fantastic job of using Shakespearean script structures in a modern play inspired by the Bard. Like most of Shakespeare’s comedies, Blue-Eyed Hag uses a parallel plot construction, where separate plot threads start off as seemingly independent stories, but blend together more and more as the play progresses. At the beginning of the play, the warring realms of Kytiff and Chauthak are about to be united by a marriage between Princess Kendra and Prince Egan. At the same time, Sycorax arrives in Kytiff after having been banished from Algiers and shipwrecked. Her arrival, at first coincidental, has a significant effect on the planned royal wedding.
Also like Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Blue-Eyed Hag’s action is constructed around family relationships that mirror each other. Queen Edith of Kytiff is the protective mother of Princess Kendra. Edith’s closest advisor is her lady-in-waiting, Audrey. Kendra has her own companion, Githa. The Chauthak royal family includes King Kyril and his son, Prince Egan. Kyril also has a longtime advisor in Demetri, and Egan is constantly accompanied by his schoolmates, Julian and Flavian. Even Sycorax, a powerful witch, has a family unit on the island — her newborn baby, and Nyx, the spirit who aids in her magic.
Jim’s deep knowledge of Shakespeare shows in the ways that he has used Shakespearean script structures and conventions in the script of Blue-Eyed Hag. The plot unfolds in a way that is certainly worthy of its Shakespearean inspiration, but it doesn’t require that audiences have previous knowledge of The Tempest. We are incredibly proud to be the first company of actors to do a full production of this play, and excited to share it with you. For dates, venue information, and tickets, please go to http://www.pcshakespeare.com/onstage.