This monthly Chatterbox column features members of the Bay Area theatre community discussing a favorite Theatre Bay Area magazine cover, which is really a great excuse for dipping into the rich history of Bay Area theatre and talking to wonderful theatre artists about their peers and memorable productions.
Theatre artist: Maureen McVerry
Favorite Theatre Bay Area cover: July/August 2012
Maureen McVerry has been a Bay Area theatre artist for nearly 30 years, working with everyone from American Conservatory Theater to TheatreWorks to Marin Theatre Company, so she understands a thing or two about long-standing relationships. When she ponders a favorite Theatre Bay Area magazine cover, she thinks about her many friends in the local theatre scene and finally chooses a recent cover, the July/August 2012 issue, featuring a photo of Remi Sandri and Adam Poss in TheatreWorks’ 2011 world premiere of “The North Pool” by Rajiv Joseph.
“Remi and I did ‘A Flea in Her Ear’ at San Jose Rep a hundred years ago,” McVerry says from the Potrero Hill home she shares with her husband and two sons. “He’s an incredible actor, and here are two things you might not know about him: he taught me how to do a time step and he’s the best reason to go to a post-show discussion.”
The production of Feydeau’s farce wasn’t really 100 years ago – it was in 2001—and here’s how Sandri taught McVerry a time step. “We were in the wings, and somehow tap dancing came up, so Remi did a beautiful time step,” McVerry recalls. “Now, I’ve been in a number of musicals, and I’m a member of three acting unions, and I can only fake a time step. I thought, ‘I should know how to do that.’ Remi gave me a little lesson, but then I signed up for a real tap class. You should see my time step now.”
As for the post-show discussion, McVerry says Sandri is just a great communicator. “He talks about the craft of acting, about the actor’s relationship to the text, like no one else,” she says.
McVerry also likes the “North Pool” cover because she’s an admirer of TheatreWorks, a company she has worked with many times and will work with again next spring when she plays Lady Bracknell in the new musical version of “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
“I can’t say enough about TheatreWorks’ commitment to new work,” she says. “I went to the New Works festival this year and saw art on a level I haven’t seen at a professional theatre for a long time. There’s just this level of creativity going on there and a commitment to creating art that reflects our time. So many theatres seem to have lost that part.”
When she’s not performing, McVerry can usually be found on the Peninsula, where she directs youth musical theatre productions. She’s now in rehearsal with nearly 80 fourth and fifth graders doing “The Pirates of Penzance.”
“I used to joke about directing kids’ shows,” McVerry says. “But it’s amazingly rewarding. In sports, someone always loses, which is depressing. In theatre, you see kids and parents transformed. Kids discover talents they never knew they had, be it in performing, designing, building—whatever. It makes me so happy to see kids so happy.”
Chad Jones has been writing about Bay Area theatre since 1992. He blogs at theaterdogs.net.
The views represented in this Chatterbox Art & Opinion post are those of the individual author, and do not necessarily represent the views of Theatre Bay Area or its staff.