Nightengale Offers Insights for a World Premier

February 02, 2011

Eric Nightengale and Arlene Hutton
Photos by Jill Gable


In a presentation by the Winter Park Institute titled How to Reconcile Theatre and Documentary, famed New York director Eric Nightengale discussed with members of the Rollins community the challenges of working with living playwrights and directing documentary-based scripts. 

Nightengale has been working with playwright and Winter Park Institute Visiting Scholar Arlene Hutton, the pseudonym for alumna Beth Lincks, and the Rollins Department of Theatre and Dance to produce the world premier of Hutton’s Letters to Sala. Letters to Sala, an adaptation of the book Sala’s Gift authored by Winter Park Institute Visiting Scholar Ann Kirschner, is set to open on the Annie Russell stage on February 11.  

Nightengale began the lecture by telling a wildly descriptive and exceedingly humorous story about his early years in New York as an assistant director for the Circle Repertory Theatre.  He then delved into deep discussions on his unique artistic process, elaborating on his involvement and collaboration with the author and the transformation of real people into characters.  Contributing to the discussion was Hutton as well as student performers Shayla Alamino '12 and Alexa Gordon '13. Alamino and Gordon are faced with the unique challenge of playing living characters, both of whom will be present in the audience for the premier. 


Eric Nightengale Eric Nightengale and Arlene Hutton

Alexa Gordon '13, Shayla Alamino '12, Eric Nightengale and Arlene Hutton joke about what Nightengale will discuss in his lecture.  “The intellectual curiosity, depth of involvement and passion of these students has made this experience an extraordinary honor for me,” said Nightengale during his presentation.


Nightengale explained that working closely with living playwrights aids him in resolving practical staging issues and determining what specific theatrical elements are important to the story. “Arlene serves less as a playwright and more like a refrigerator at which I throw spaghetti to see what sticks.”

Justin Braun '10 '11MBA

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