Director, Roxanna lewis
Florida State College at Jacksonville, FL
Written by Jennifer Chase
Original music by Jennifer Chase
Family, money, politics and love all have their roles in distracting an artist from his/her work," claims playwright and musician Jennifer Chase, talking about her original play, "Handmaid." In the play, art imitates life, as found in the work of Diego Velazquez, considered by many to be Spain's greatest baroque artist. As told by the playwright, Cuban immigrant and fledgling artist Rodriguez DeSilva has twenty-four hours remaining to fulfill the requirements of a commission he's received to paint a replica of the famous Velazquez painting, "Las Meninas." Pressures from his family and his ambitious girlfriend, Margaret, distract him from his commission and he sidetracks himself with drink, billiards and painting--everything but the commissioned work, which if ever done, is to hang in the welcome center of a park named in honor of his deceased father. Through DeSilva's heightened fantasies and dreams he learns of some of the realities behind Velazquez' life, struggles and work. Secrets are revealed.
"Your directing style is like no other I have ever experienced! Supremely educational, professional and highly rewarding on all levels. You pushed my performance to new levels and challenged me to experiment with unfamiliar methods. Thanks to your tutelage, I am on my way to self-discovery as renewed performer."
"So much of the work that you did may seem basic to an experienced actor. However, I am not that person. I needed to be reminded of the basics, the importance of warm up work, the need for self-discipline, the need to listen to what each actor was saying, to engage in conversation and not simply to repeat lines, to recognize the ‘fourth wall’, to engage the audience and let them in. You always made me keenly aware that I was a member of a team from stage hands, to lighting technicians, dressers and, of course, the actors. As the director, you took up this challenge with enthusiasm and energy, leading, cajoling, helping, driving, but always with a sense of humor and a smile that spoke volumes."
"For I doubt that I will ever have the honor and the pleasure of being directed by someone with as much class, determination, and passion for her craft such as yourself again."