Other Than Honorable
by Jamie Pachino
directed by Kimberly Senior
Originally produced at Geva Theatre Center, Rochester, NY
April 25 to May 21, 2017
About the Premiere Production:
Synopsis: With her husband deployed to an unknown location, lawyer Grace Rattigan, a former Army officer who resigned her commission under sealed terms, must make life-altering decisions on her own. When she reluctantly takes on a military sexual assault case, it re-opens old wounds and forces her to confront her past, along with the real meaning of the military’s codes of honor, courage and loyalty.
Artistic Statement: Over the past couple of years, I have been thinking a lot about theater-making, and the many hands that touch a work of art. It’s rather like some sort of miracle to bring a playwright’s writing alive on stage, when you really consider it. A singular voice eventually turns into a choral expression of that original note. Being true to that original artistic impulse, while gathering the caresses and responses of others, is a thrilling challenge. This is true of most any play or musical revival that goes into production. However, when this extraordinary process is done for the first time, on a brand new play, the stakes are so much higher and the rewards that much richer. And the touches along the way include that many more hands.
And so we get to Jamie Pachino’s incredibly explosive play, Other Than Honorable. Not only is Jamie tackling one of today’s most charged topics - sure to cause intense conversation among theatergoers over the military’s standards of conduct and the role of litigation – but she has styled her play with cinematic dexterity, combining video and quick-cut scenes to accentuate the contemporary subject matter. She has also brought raw, personal storytelling into her play in a visceral and immediate way. Audiences will be hit with both reality and lyricism: it’s a powerful brew. It’s brave. It’s compelling. It’s a journey worth taking.
Geva has always been deeply invested in connecting our community to our artistry and artists – culminating in a recent participation of an EMC Arts Innovation Grant to explore new ways to make Geva even more Artist-Centered and Patron-Centered. We established the Cohort Club three years ago to bring Rochesterians into the rehearsal room to witness the creation of a production and to write about it. With Other Than Honorable, the community conversations will be long and deep. We look forward to bringing into the rehearsal process both military personnel and survivors for real-life perspectives. We look forward to the post-show discussions and panels that will help our community grasp the personal impact of sexual harassment in the armed forces. And we look forward to our U.S. Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, continuing to lead the fight for changing rules and attitudes among senior military leadership.
Jamie Pachino is a writer of intelligence, fearlessness, compassion, and vision. Kimberly Senior is a director of intelligence, vitality, imagination, and discipline. And they both possess a desire to confront ideas and passion head-on in their collaborative work.
Geva Theatre Center strives to be a home for artists and audiences who are courageous, committed, open-hearted, and inclusive. This project of Other Than Honorable will prove to be not only an important milestone in our artistic history, but it will make a great piece of theater.
Grant Statement: We requested funding from the Edgerton Foundation for an extra week of rehearsal with the actors, dramaturg, playwright and director. New plays require more rehearsal time than plays already in the theatrical canon, and the contributions that actors can make to a script during an extended rehearsal period are invaluable. This kind of exploration, with the playwright present and supported by a creative team, can be essential to the success of the play.
Because Other Than Honorable explores issues in the military, we will reach out to experts as consultants on the play’s content for use in rehearsals. Additional rehearsal time will allow for conversations with these experts – including representatives from the military as well as survivors of sexual assault - and the actors, director and playwright.
Additionally, Other Than Honorable has a few unique technical requirements that, when addressed, will pave the way for innovative use of technology on stage. The play includes video depositions, projections, and a character who appears only through Skype calls. Additional rehearsal time will be required so that Geva’s staff, creative team and actors can address these requirements in a compelling and poetic way. They will explore what this means, how the technology will function onstage, and how the live actors will interact through the video screen. The ability to schedule full design meetings with the playwright present will allow the designers and production staff to speak with her directly and help them prepare for any script changes that may occur.
Set Designer: Jack Magaw
Lighting Designer: Josh Epstein
Costume Designer: Nan Zabriskie
Sound Designer: Lindsay Jones
Dramaturg: Jenni Werner