Flat Earth co-founder Jake Scaltreto takes his tenth directorial work to the South Pole
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Terra Nova Opens



And get to know director Jake Scaltreto and his frigid tenth show with Flat Earth Theatre

Celebrating Ten Plays

An interview with Terra Nova director Jake Scaltreto

Flat Earth co-founder Jake Scaltreto has been directing for the company since its premiere with Kevin Mullins's Joe in 2006. His productions include the nightmarish mental trip in Bug, the exploration of memory and science set inside the atom in Copenhagen, and last spring's psychological labyrinth Reader. Now on his tenth show in the director's chair, Jake showcases his complex visions for the stage with Flat Earth's upcoming tragic expedition to the South Pole in Terra Nova by Ted Tally, running February 20th through 28th at the Arsenal Center for the Arts.
James Hayward in Bug

"I can’t say enough good things about Jake Scaltreto’s directing. His ability to shape the scenes and the play into a wonderful story with building tensions and climaxes was stunning and riveting." -Brian Balduzzi, My Theatre World

FET: This is your tenth show directing with Flat Earth. What would you say is the Jake Scaltreto trademark? What kinds of shows draw you to them?

Jake: I don’t know if I have a ‘trademark’ per se, but I would say that my goal with all shows I direct is to be as seamless as possible; that all of the moving pieces work together to create an experience for the audience that immerses them in the storytelling. I think one edge that theatre has over TV and film is that the audience is in the same room, often feet away. Theatre is a shared experience between the performers and the audience, and anything you can do to bring the audience into the world of the play is a good thing. I try to pick scripts that foster that level of emotional engagement.

Kevin Kordis, Emily Hecht, and Matthew Zahnzinger in Copenhagen

"The set up cleverly devised by director Jake Scaltreto ... puts the 49 seats in a spiral that surrounds then snails off from the small round stage at the center. It is man at the center of the universe." -Kay Bourne, EDGE

FET: What makes Terra Nova your kind of show?

Jake: Ted Tally has done something really special with Terra Nova. It would be very tempting to do a play about the Scott expedition that took a documentary approach, but instead we’re given a complex, moving character study. This is not a play about dates, names, or even places; it’s about human beings who took risks, made mistakes, and suffered unspeakable loss. Tally’s writing allows us to see these characters as real people, and to connect emotionally with their struggles.

Robin Gabrielli and Sara Jones in Reader

"Kudos to director Jake Scaltreto for placing the audience on both sides of the theater, trapping the action in the center and for setting a slightly arched, artificial tone to the material." -Beverly Creasey, Boston Arts Review

FET: How do you make it your own?

Jake: It’s the director’s job to present the play as the playwright intended, remaining true to the story. That said, there are myriad ways in which an individual production can enhance a story, drawing the audience’s focus toward what’s important. For this show, I wanted to focus on the character of Scott specifically, and his journey as an arguably failed leader. Tally was nice enough to bookend the script with scenes that allow us to frame the story from Scott’s perspective. The scenes are written to flow fluidly and can feel—at times—like a dream, which is an aspect we chose to emphasize. This is very much “Scott’s Dream;” we’re not just seeing these events play out, we’re experiencing them as he might have, complete with all of his doubts, insecurities, triumphs, and failures. The strength of the script, as well as the magnificently talented and intuitive cast, made my job very easy.

Terra Nova opens tomorrow!


We look forward to seeing you at the Pole!

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