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A Chat With: Company Director Michael Flowers

An interview with Michael Flowers, director and longtime BSC professor of theatre. The musical production will be performed Nov. 21-24 at the College Theatre. Katie Holmes '05 is the music director.Michael Flowers

Why did you choose Company this year?
It has been awhile since the college did a "Sondheim" show, and given the talents of our current students, now seemed like the right time.

Would you expand on the storyline of Company?
Company tells the story of the character of Robert as he faces his 35th birthday. He has been unable to commit to a serious relationship, and as he looks at all his dysfunctional, married friends, he's not sure, even in his mid-30s, if he can take that leap. The musical is about one's universal desire to be loved, no matter the challenges that love might bring. Will it be perfect? No. Is imperfect better than not at all? Robert, and thus the musical, finally answer with a resounding "yes."

How many students are involved in the production and what will they benefit from working on this musical?
There are 30 students involved with the production, all of whom, I hope, will come to appreciate the brilliant script and music, and the extraordinary way this story is told.

What usually goes through your head right before students take the stage for a performance?
We run the theatre program in such a way that, in the final week, we turn the production over to the students, trusting they feel prepared to execute every aspect of the performance. Am I nervous, yes! Do I believe in them and all the great work we have done together? Absolutely!

Were there any unique challenges to putting on this production?
As is always the case with educational theatre, we ask students to use their imaginations to empathize with life experiences that are beyond their own personal experiences. This is the challenge, and it is also where the magic happens. In the end, they have been exposed to lives unlike their own and we believe we all become better human beings for having walked in another's shoes.

How is the BSC production different or the same from the original?
We are setting our production in 1970, the year of the original Broadway production. By doing this, not only are we asking our students to connect to characters who are older, we're also asking them to step back in time 40 years to understand what life was like "back then." The characters actually talk to one another. There are no texts, no Facebook messages, no tweets. It was a very different time.

Do you have a favorite song from the show?
They are all my favorites. Really, this is one of my top three shows.

How has the stage been transformed for this production?
We are using our stage revolve to help tell the story of Robert's experiences with all the married couples and his three girlfriends. I don't want to give away too much, but it will be exciting to watch!