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Court Theatre | Digital Production Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912)

Stage Directions • Industry News • May 25, 2021

The Court Theatre has an upcoming production of Owen McCafferty’s Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912), directed by Vanessa Stalling. This digital production will be available to stream on-demand from June 14 – July 11, 2021.

A survivors’ story fraught with intrigue, bravery, and human frailty, Owen McCafferty’s Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912) tells the story of the sinking of the RMS Titanic using verbatim testimonies from a court investigation of the wreck. The production team includes Vanessa Stalling (Director), Arnel Sancianco (Scenic Designer), Izumi Inaba (Costume Designer), Keith Parham (Lighting Designer), Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Designer), Zoe Lesser (Assistant Director), Erin Albrecht (Production Stage Manager), Nikki Konomos (Assistant Stage Manager), Derek Matson (Dramaturg), Eva Breneman (Dialect Designer), and Evan Williams (Dramaturgy Intern). The ensemble cast features performances by Ernest Bentley, Nate Burger, Ronald L. Conner, Alys Shante Dickerson, Xavier Edward King, Andy Nagraj, and Bri Sudia.

Reflecting on the upcoming digital production, Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, shares, “The opportunity to host director Vanessa Stalling at Court again after her visionary production of Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51 has been such a thrill for all of us at the theatre. Seeing her singular approach to bringing this epic courtroom drama to life has been inspiring, illustrating the powerful ways that technology can expand the boundaries of storytelling in exhilarating ways.”

Patrons will be able to stream this digital production on-demand from June 14 – July 11, 2021.

A survivors’ story fraught with intrigue, bravery, and human frailty, Owen McCafferty’s Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912) tells the story of the sinking of the HMS Titanic using verbatim testimonies from a court investigation of the wreck. Presented in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, an ensemble of actors probes the causes of the catastrophe, the value systems that enabled it, and if indeed it was actually preventable. Vanessa Stalling (Jeff Award-winning director of Photograph 51 and United Flight 232) brings her singular artistry to McCafferty’s text to craft a lush aural experience that allows audiences to explore the tragedy from multiple perspectives. Leveraging audio technology, she and her team will create an expansive soundscape that allows the testimonies of each individual to resonate with audiences through a heightened, intimate experience that pushes the boundaries of design and theatrical performance.

Here’s a video interview with sound designer and composer Mihail Fiksel on his design for Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912):

Costume designer Izumi Inaba describes the costumes of Titanic (Scenes from The British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912) as “exposing our actors just as who they really are. Since each member of the cast is unified in black, their personalities come through.”

Here’s a backstage tour of the set design for Court Theatre’s productions of Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912), designed by Arnel Sancianco. This tour is led by Director of Audience Services Matthew Sitz and Technical Director Luke Lemanski behind the scenes of Sancianco’s set:

About the Production Team

Arnel Sancianco (Scenic Designer) is an award-winning set designer and currently is a professor of scenic design at Arizona State University. He has designed all around the United States. Credits include Photograph 51,The Belle of Amherst (Court); The Lifespan of a Fact (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); A Doll’s House (Writer’s Theatre); The Color Purple (Drury Lane Theatre); Twelfth Night (American Players Theatre) Put Your House in Order (La Jolla Playhouse); Lottery Day (Goodman Theatre); Landladies, Into the Breeches (Northlight Theatre); The All Night Strut (Milwaukee Rep); Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Raven); Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt, Empower (Lyric Unlimited); Something Clean (Sideshow); The Cake (Rivendell); Master Class, Boy (Timeline); I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, We Are Proud to Present, The Crucible (Steppenwolf); The Wiz, Little Fish (Kokandy); Wolf Play, Hangman, Pilgrims (The Gift); Hookman, Earthquakes in London (Steep); Peerless (First Floor); The Total Bent, The Displaced, How We Got On (Haven); You on The Moors Now (The Hypocrites); and Xanadu (American Theatre Co.)

Izumi Inaba (Costume Designer) is delighted to come back at Court and to work with Vanessa and her favorite collaborators. Previously at Court, she has designed Harvey after assisting her mentor Linda Roethke on The Good Book. Her recent projects, not limiting to costume designing, include 34th Young Playwright Festival (Pegasus Theatre), My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theatre (University of Chicago), 2021 WordPlay Gala (Writers Theatre), Yours Truly (Albany Park Theater Project), and Michael Merritt Summit Series (The Michael Merritt Awards). Adjunct lecturer at DePaul University. United Scenic Artists Local USA 829.

Keith Parham (Lighting Designer) Court credits: Oedipus Rex, Photograph 51, All My Sons, The Hard Problem, An Iliad, Angels in America, Proof, The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, M. Butterfly, The Good Book, Satchmo at the Waldorf, One Man, Two Guvnors, Man in the Ring, and Blues for an Alabama Sky. Broadway: Thérèse Raquin (Roundabout Theatre). Off-Broadway: Wild Goose Dreams (Public); Man from Nebraska (2econd Stage); The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois (Atlantic Theater); Between Riverside and Crazy (2econd Stage/Atlantic Theater); Tribes, Mistakes Were Made, and Red Light Winter (Barrow Street); Stop the Virgens (Karen O at St. Ann’s Warehouse/Sydney Opera); Ivanov, Three Sisters (CSC); A Minister’s Wife (Lincoln Center); Adding Machine (Minetta Lane). Awards: Obie, Lortel.

Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Designer) is a Siberia-born designer, audio producer, composer, and DJ, currently based in Chicago and New York. Recent projects include productions with Goodman Theatre, The Public Theatre, Signature Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, The Vineyard, Playwrights Horizons, La Jolla Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, Albany Park Theater Project, and original audio-plays with Audible Originals, WBEZ, and Make Believe Association. He is a recipient of three Lucille Lortel Awards, multiple Joseph Jefferson Awards, three Drama Desk Nominations and the 2020 Obie Award for Sound Design. He is a proud member of TSDCA and USA.

Eva Breneman (Dialect Designer) Court credits: The Mousetrap, The Adventures of Augie March, Photograph 51, The Belle of Amherst, The Hard Problem, One Man, Two Guvnors, The Good Book, M. Butterfly, Skylight, Angels in America, The First Breeze of Summer, Carousel. Recent Chicago credits: The Last Match (Writers); A Christmas Carol–An Audio Play, Roe (Goodman); Top Girls (Remy Bumppo); Rutherford & Sons, Oslo (Timeline). Regional credits: Six seasons at American Players Theatre; R&J: A Theatre Lila Invention (Theatre Lila); Things I Know to be True (Milwaukee Rep). Eva is an associate artist at TimeLine Theatre Company.

Erin Albrecht (Production Stage Manager) Previously at Court: Theatre for One: Here We Are; The Lady from the Sea; The Mousetrap; Oedipus Rex; King Hedley II; The Adventures of Augie March; For Colored Girls…; Photograph 51; Frankenstein; Radio Golf; The Originalist; All My Sons; The Belle of Amherst; Five Guys Named Moe; Harvey; Blues for an Alabama Sky; Man in the Ring; One Man, Two Guvnors; Long Day’s Journey Into Night; and others. Albrecht has worked Off-Broadway, regionally, and toured throughout Europe. She holds a Bachelor of Music from The Catholic University of America and an MFA in Stage Management from Virginia Tech. She’s an adjunct instructor of Stage Management at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Nikki Konomos (Assistant Stage Manager) is a non-union stage manager. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2019 and has since worked in the Chicago area with First Folio Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Roosevelt University, and now Court Theatre. She is thrilled to be a part of bringing the theatre to your homes with this amazing digital content.

Further information from the Court Theatre:


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