I recently had the opportunity to direct David Lindsay-Abaire's RIPCORD for Lubbock Community Theatre. It was a very rewarding experience, as I was able not only to return to the theatre that first gave but also give new performers an opportunity to begin their acting careers. We performed to sold-out houses over the course of three weekends.
Local critic for the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, William Kerns, noted:
Miller’s pacing is admirable, introducing a number of inventive, not-very-nice battles within the war. There is a hanging sequence right out of “Harold and Maude,” and an irritating, but guaranteed, way to keep an opponent’s telephone ringing. Mind you, an involved stunt closing Act One finds these characters’ daily reality transformed into the fantastic and farcical. In other words, it is too ludicrous to believe for even a minute -- which to the credit of the newly costumed ensemble, not to mention Miller’s vision, makes it no less entertaining.
Read the full review here.
Chad Anthony Miller’s Ripcord was far from usual community theatre fare. Taking advantage of the darker elements of one of David Lindsay Abaire’s lesser-known scripts, Miller skillfully interweaves humor and pathos in such a way that the audience does not anticipate the cruelty that inevitably accompanies transformation. Rather than force the viewers to side with one of the warring roommates in a home for the elderly, he gently encourages them to find the truth behind characters who could too easily become one-dimensional. And, possibly most impressively, his work with the designers creates a space that is at one moment claustrophobic, and another, whimsical. With Ripcord at the Lubbock Community Theatre, Miller elevated a comedy that, on the surface, has minimal substance to an evening where boundaries are pushed, and motivation is questionable.
- Dr. Mark Charney, Chair of Theatre and Dance at Texas Tech University
Chad works very closely with his actors. He uses the script as a guideline as to who these people are and then helps the actors explore and invent the people they inhabit while remaining faithful to the writer’s work. As they begin to understand more clearly who their characters are, then he helps them develop into a fully realized character.
Chad also works closely with the technical aspects of the show. We laughed a lot about the fact that when a writer writes a script, he/she pays very little attention as to the “HOW” it will come to life on a stage--so if you have a skydiving scene in the play, then just find a way to do it. Or if there is a haunted house on the stage, then make one that is believable for the audience. And he did those things and more. He works closely with the sound of a show (an element which is very important to him), lights and set.
Another of Chad’s strengths is his work with promotion of his show. He finds every possible way to get the word out to an audience about the show on which he is working. Our large #’s for “Ripcord” were due in great part to Chad’s persistence in “bringing in an audience”. Chad Anthony Miller has been a strong asset to the Lubbock Community Theatre.
- Jay Brown, Artistic Director of Lubbock Community Theatre
Chad has an unlimited and infectious amount of creative energy, that manages to seep into the most stubborn layers of uncertainty that might be lurking in the psyches of his cast members. In my particular case, he worked diligently with me to draw out the humanity, humor and heart of a very damaged soul, in the character of Abby.
He goes above and beyond in working with actors, crew, designers and peers, to develop his vision of onstage magic and energy. He pursues that vision with uncompromising passion, and manages to draw his actors into that vision with heart, humor, intelligence and committed perseverance.
- Wilda Won, RIPCORD actor