Bea(u)tiful in the Extreme: From the Beginning

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on April 4, 2011

Mark Cabus is making his Roxy directorial debut this spring with BEA(U)TIFUL IN THE EXTREME.  He is currently the Assistant to Artistic Director Tom Key at Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta and currently in charge of casting and educational outreach for their 2011-2012 season.

Thirteen years ago, when I first moved back to Nashville, my longtime friend Leon Martel sent me a copy of his play Bea(u)tiful in the Extreme along with a letter that insisted I had to produce it in Middle Tennessee. “The story ends there. Meriwether’s story ends there,” he pleaded. “You have to do it.”

The story of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had never really been more than just an American History lesson to me. But as I read the play, its momentum and message moved me. That our nation had been destructively naïve in our dealings with Native Americans and with the expansion west resonated from afar.

Unfortunately, my company, Naked Stages, couldn’t afford the production values necessary to present the play effectively, and it languished in my drawer. Leon and I collaborated on a seriously abbreviated version of the play when I directed it for Tennessee Governor’s School of the Arts in 2009, but whenever I searched for new plays to produce and direct, Bea(u)tiful in the Extreme was always a bride’s maid.

That is until John McDonald called me and asked me to come to Clarksville to direct the regional premiere at the Roxy. And what a treat it’s been. John assembled a marvelous company of players to give my friend’s words life and love and a skilled staff to offer it light and sound and setting.

I pray the audiences here in Middle Tennessee are as taken with this play of Meriwether Lewis and the Corp of Discovery as I was thirteen years ago. It’s where the story ends.

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