Tag Archives: Trinity Rep

Fountain Theatre’s audio play Numbered Days, a moving, true love story, launches today

Being Valentine’s Day, treat yourself to being swept away by the love and healing powers of music and the written word in Numbered Days, the true-life love story of two passionate artists who used the power of their artistry to sustain them through their “numbered days” as a couple. Playwright Corey Madden has transformed her poetic memoir into a four-episode audio play produced by the Fountain theatre that launches today.

How can art, and the process of creating it, help us cope with hardship? Numbered Days turns Madden’s poems about the battle with cancer she shared with her beloved husband, composer Bruno Louchouarn, into an audio art piece meant to bring healing to others.

Two-time Emmy®, Peabody and SAG award-winning actor Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) stars as playwright Corey Madden in an audio theater production of Madden’s moving memoir. Veteran actor Tony Amendola (Antaeus Theatre Company, Showtime’s Dexter, ABC’s Once Upon a Time) stars alongside Gunn as Bruno. Jeanne Sakataand Jack Stehlin take on multiple roles. Madden directs, and Jeff Gardener is audio producer, sound designer and Foley artist. Prominently featured throughout is Louchouarn’s glorious music.

“This is not just a play about living with cancer — it’s a play about joie de vivre, artistry, and how to get through the unimaginable. Art created healing for us, and that was nothing short of a miracle.”

Following her husband’s diagnosis, Madden began writing short, free-verse poems as a way to give voice to her anguish.

“I started writing on my iPhone as a way to cope with the stress and uncertainty, but what I discovered was that focusing only on Bruno’s illness and treatment was robbing us both of the very thing I wanted most to preserve — his life,” she explains. “The practice of writing about exactly what was happening in the moment helped me see the grace within daily life. It helped me re-focus on the joy of being alive today. Instead of living in fear, we were both able to experience joy through making art. This is not just a play about living with cancer — it’s a play about joie de vivre, artistry, and how to get through the unimaginable. Art created healing for us, and that was nothing short of a miracle.”

Corey Madden at Cafe Figero, where she and Bruno first met

In addition to writing and directing Numbered Days, Madden’s original works include Rain After Ash and Sol Path, commissioned and produced at Pasadena’s AxS Festival; Day for Night, presented by Santa Monica’s GLOW and featured in Poland’s Transatlantyk Film and Music Festival; Surf Orpheus, produced by UC San Diego and at the Getty Villa, and Rock, Paper, Scissors which was co-written with Laural Meade, premiered at Childsplay and was subsequently produced at Speeltheatre in Holland. Madden is also the director of And So We Walked: An Artist Journey Along the Trail of Tears created and performed by Delanna Studi, which has been produced by Triad Stage and Portland Stage and represented the United States at the Carthage International Theatre Festival in Tunisia in 2019, and will be released by Audible in Spring 2022.  Madden has directed plays, opera and music events, and multi-disciplinary works at the Mark Taper Forum, Public Theatre, Getty Museum, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Court Performing Arts, Trinity Repertory and Actors Theatre of Louisville, among many others. Madden trained at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She received her undergraduate degree in dramatic arts from UNC Chapel Hill and her graduate degrees in creative and cinematic writing from USC’s Professional Writing Program and USC Film. Madden is currently the executive director of the Monterey Museum of Art and was associate artistic director of Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum, where she developed and produced more than 300 new plays during her 22-year tenure.

Bruno Louchouarn (1959-2018) composed more than 600 original works including orchestral and chamber music, opera, dance, film, television and theater scores, as well as sound and media installations. His remarkable body of work reflects his wide-ranging interests in music, media and sound, informed by his academic research in cognitive science, artificial intelligence and ethnomusicology. Louchouarn’s musical catalogue reflects the spirit and rhythms of Paris, Mexico City, Los Angeles and Piedmont North Carolina, the places he called home over his six decades of life. During his lifetime, Louchouarn collaborated extensively with dance, theater and visual artists including Suzanne Lacy, Jacques Heim, Herbert Siguenza, Michael John Garces, Juan Felipe Herrera, and his wife, Corey Madden, to create performances in which his moving and layered scores play a leading role. Louchouarn’s collaborations with Susan Jaffe on Metallurgy and Carmina Terra were among his most rewarding creative experiences. Louchouarn’s compositions have been performed at leading arts institutions such as the Kennedy Center, Royce Hall at UCLA, Cal Arts’ REDCAT, the Getty Museum, Juilliard School of Music, University of Southern California, University of Akron, UNC School of the Arts, Chapman School of Music, Occidental College, San Diego Rep, Boston Court, Pasadena Playhouse, Cornerstone Theatre Company and at festivals including Santa Monica’s GLOW, Pasadena’s AxS Festival and Poland’s Transatlantyk Film and Music Festival.

Audio producer, sound designer and Foley artist Jeff Gardener has designed sound and performed as an actor across the country. His credits include the Geffen Playhouse, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Wallis Annenberg Center, A Noise Within, Antaeus Theatre Company, Boston Court Pasadena, Circle X Theatre Company, Echo Theater Company, Rogue Machine, Matrix Theatre, Skylight Theatre, IAMA Theatre Company, The Shakespeare Theatre (DC), Arena Stage, Kennedy Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Jeff can be seen at L.A. Theatre Works, where he regularly performs live sound effects.

All four episodes of Numbered Days are now available for $20 at www.FountainTheatre.com. Listen to it now, wherever you get your podcasts, with someone you love.

The Artistic Home

The Fountain Theatre, an Artistic Home to many for twenty-two years.

by Curt Columbus

What makes an artistic home?
An artistic home is a place where an artist can find nurture and take risk. It is a place where one can receive blunt, intense, but constructive critique, as well as new and generative ideas, generously given, wonderfully liberating, and immensely creative. Artistic home does not develop over a matter of weeks but takes years and years to take root inside the artists involved. Therefore, institutions must commit to making an artistic home a lasting place with multiple returns. This development requires casual and random contact over food, in hallways, or sometimes on the playing field (softball, anyone?). An artistic home, a true one, is always made richer and livelier by the presence of children and their incredible, life-affirming chaos. These can and should be the children of the artists involved, as well as the local community’s children, who are inevitably and inexorably drawn to any place that explores artistic potential. Like all homes, an artistic home can be filled with conflict, but at the end of the day, love is the overriding and overarching quality. (We may argue passionately, but we all kiss good night).

How can one create and/or build an artistic home for others?

Well, the real answer to that question is surprisingly simple. You create an artistic home by putting the needs of your artist collaborators ahead of your own needs or the needs of your institution, and you and your institution have to keep doing it over a long stretch of time. You commit to artists, you support their failures as well as their successes, and you put the people first, not their fame, nor their prestige, nor any other passing fad. Like family members, you love your artists for their flaws, as well as for their talents, encouraging the latter and addressing the former. You create an artistic home by playing the long game, not the short bet.

What is the artistic home of the future?
As artistic director of one of the last, long-standing resident acting companies in the American Theater, of course I am going to say a resident company! But, actually, I fervently and absolutely believe that it is true—I feel that we are returning to the resident company model in this country, for the same reason that the local foods movement and the locally made movement are starting to take hold in the United States. Resident artists feel the commitment of a community, which makes them more deeply connected to that community, which produces better art for the people in that community, and therefore, for the entire world. Resident artists are teachers, community organizers, fundraisers, and political advocates—all things that hired guns cannot do on any deeply felt or deeply understood level. I have several resident artists in my company who have been here for over forty years, and their impact in our community is profound. In fact, with one exception, all of our resident artists have been here for over a decade.

Carbon footprint is smaller if people live where they make art; larger institutional investment goes directly to artists over time, not just to administrators and support businesses; artists can make work that speaks directly to their communities, which deepens the democratic urge and its expression; and communities will have a passionately held belief in the artists in their midst, making them better places to work, to invest, and to live.

Curt Columbus joined Trinity Rep in Rhode Island as artistic director in January 2006. His directing credits for Trinity include Merchant of Venice, His Girl Friday, Camelot, Cabaret, The Odd Couple, The Secret Rapture, The Receptionist, A Christmas Carol, Memory House, Blithe Spirit, Cherry Orchard, and the world premiere of Stephen Thorne’s …Poe. His plays Paris by Night, The Dreams of Antigone, and Sparrow Grass premiered at Trinity. His adaptation of Crime and Punishment (with Marilyn Campbell) is published by Dramatists’ Play Service. Curt’s translations of Chekhov’s plays are published by Ivan R. Dee, Chekhov: The Four Major Plays. The Dreams of Antigone is published by Broadway Play Publishing. Curt lives in Pawtucket with his partner, Nathan Watson.