|L-R: Michael A. Torrey (SIMON HANABE), David Daniel (ROELF VISAGIE), |
and director C. Michael Wright at the first read-through for The Train Driver
My name is Alexander Coddington and I am Michael Wright’s assistant director for this winter’s production of THE TRAIN DRIVER, running in the Studio Theatre from February 25 through March 15. Throughout the month, I will be periodically updating you on the rehearsal process upstairs at Chamber as we prepare to present Athol Fugard’s powerful drama of post-apartheid South Africa inspired by an actual event.
We’re wrapping up our first week of rehearsals today, and so far it’s proved to be a really exciting show. Our first day, we had a meet-and-greet with the cast and production team and read the script for the first time. Also in attendance were friends of Chamber and representatives from UPAF, and during the Q&A we received some very insightful questions about the script and the process of producing a play.
For such an intense two-character play, it’s hard to believe that David Daniel and Michael Torrey met each other for the first time at that read-through. One of the great things about this play is the characters show us through the bonds of their new friendship that it is possible to meet a stranger and create a very honest, meaningful connection with someone, so it will be fascinating to watch David and Michael get to know each other at the same time Roelf and Simon do.
David Daniel returns to MCT after appearing in ANCESTRAL VOICES (2001) and THE HERBAL BED (2002). He is a Core Company member at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin where he also serves as the Education Director. Previous Fugard work includes EXITS AND ENTRANCES in APT's Touchstone Theatre in 2010. He is a graduate of the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware and a veteran of the United States Army.
Michael Torrey returns to MCT after performing in DRIVING MISS DAISY (2011). He also appeared in Next Act Theatre's 2005 production of Fugard's “MASTER HAROLD” …and the boys, directed by Michael Wright. He has performed with First Stage in A MIDNIGHT CRY, THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE and THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE. Currently based in Chicago, he has worked with theatre’s including The Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Theatre at the Center and New American Theatre.
Michael Wright has continually said through the pre-production process that THE TRAIN DRIVER is not a tragedy. Though it may seem on the surface to be his most tragic work, at its core it is a play of great hope and the triumph of finding hope in a hopeless world. It is a play of great danger, but also a play of great humor. A haunting ghost story without ghosts, Fugard has breathed an incredible amount of empathy into this beautifully written script that is perfect for MCT audiences: fiercely intelligent, brutally honest, and full of surprises at every turn.