The Ghost Road Company presents its latest devised production, The Bargain and the Butterfly. Next performances at South Coast Repertory Theater as part of their Studio Series June 12-15, 2014 (scr.org). Inspired by American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story The Artist of the Beautiful and under the direction of Katharine Noon, the Los Angeles-based theater ensemble has crafted a beautifully haunting new play, which explores the delicate intersection of genius and madness.
In a world of shredded books and ticking time pieces, Annie, the brilliant, yet tense progeny of a scientist and a watchmaker, has one desire: restore the soul of her twin brother Owen who has been in a state of coma since birth. With blueprints for a synthetic soul in hand, she turns to a local glassblower to execute the central, delicate piece required for her design to function. However, progress falters as she confides in her new companion, and Annie begins to feel that time may be running out.
This expertly crafted, ensemble-driven theatrical work looks at the choices we face involving individual survival and the survival of the human race through the prism of neurology, bio-genetics and psychology. In addition to using Hawthorne’s The Artist of the Beautiful as its central source material, the company found inspiration in neuroscience, in particular the research concerning a genetic anomaly present in both schizophrenics and highly creative people called the T/T variant on the Neuregulin 1 gene.
Directed by Katharine Noon and developed by in collaboration with the ensemble, The Bargain and the Butterfly features The Ghost Road Company members Ronnie Clark, Christel Joy Johnson and Brian Weir, alongside regular collaborators Jennifer Kays and Doug Sutherland. Also returning are Maureen Weiss (production design) and Cricket Myers (sound design), who have both worked with the ensemble for the last six years. Ronnie Clark (lighting), Molly McGraw (stage management) and Mark Seldis and Kim Glann (producers) round out the production team.