Wilson, who teaches at New World, says of the play’s language, “It’s the actor’s job to make the audience understand what’s going on. We also have to reconcile our more psychologically-based training with the heightened nature of this…Willmore is the original wild-and-crazy guy. He falls in love or lust instantly.”
Working on The Rover has made Stodard hungry to program a classic into each Thinking Cap season. The 35-year-old director is married to a pediatric ear-nose-throat doctor and leads a busy life juggling motherhood (she has a daughter and son), theatrical work and her dissertation. She is happiest, she says, behind the scenes, staging plays and moving Thinking Cap toward her vision for its future.
“I have such bad anxiety that I get the sweats just making a curtain speech,” Stodard says. “I love theater, but not acting.”
She started Thinking Cap after her sister Ginger, who loved theater and had acted in college, died of colon cancer.
“She was 16 years older than I am. At first, she was a second mother, then a big sister, then a dear friend. When she died, I fell apart,” Stodard says. “Thinking Cap is the sunshine that came out of that loss.”
Stodard intends to keep Thinking Cap in Broward County, which has lost two major professional companies (Mosaic Theatre and The Promethean Theatre) in the past year. Her theater’s carefully defined mission statement describes it as a company “devoted to experimental, provocative and socially-concious work,” telling “compelling stories in fresh and surprising ways.” Presenting “historical works that have rarely or never seen the light of the stage,” works such as The Rover, is part of that mission too.
Within three years or so, Stodard hopes Thinking Cap will have its own space and be an official not-for-profit theater. So far, the company has been funded by friends, family, program ads and ticket sales. Stodard is a realist, but she’s a realist with a plan.
“We dream big, then try to step back and think realistically,” she says. “It’s wonderful to see the growth.”