Director’s Cut – by Erin Greer

Jeff Adler


Shooting Star  director Jeff Adler wanted to focus on lessons learned from transitory periods and places. To Adler, the story of Reed and Elena is an explorative dichotomy in life choices—what happens when one clings too long to the ideals and goals of youth? And what happens when someone abandons those ideals, possibly prematurely, to instead embrace the status quo?

“Reed kind of let go of his ideals…he kind of sold out in one way. Elena thinks maybe she held on too long to her youthful passions and ideals when the world had continued to change,” Adler explains. “[The play offers a] look at what you missed out on and what you have done and need to be doing.”

To carry the message across, Adler said he wanted to create an atmosphere of “magic realism” with the Shooting Star set. On one hand, the set feels like a traditional airport terminal. On the other, Adler made choices to accentuate the surreal nature of coming to terms with one’s own past.

“Stylistically, I thought of the airport and the blizzard that has stranded [Reed and Elana] as a kind of magic realism. The script tells you ‘it snows’…but I wanted to make sure that it snows until they have concluded the business they need to conclude,” Adler explains. “It’s the same with the clock. It jumps ahead between scenes but runs in real-time during the scene.”

Adler acknowledges a personal connection to the script, specifically with regard to the character’s decisions to reinvest in their relationships with their respective children, but says the appeal of Shooting Star is in its poignancy to anyone evaluating their decisions and direction.

“Anyone who is going through a transition in life and going into the next stage, you have to wrangle your values and your dreams with what you want to do going forward,” Adler said. “What really attracted me to the script–there I am reading a play about two people who are sort of off-track but revitalize and refocus their lives.”

Within this revitalization and refocus lies the heart of the show: hope. It’s a message Horizon strives to promote with every new production.

“We have always been oriented to ensemble pieces. That’s one of the things that ‘Shooting Star’ offers,” Adler said. “Our plays also have hope, connection and positive change, and in this story the characters are derailed but they help each other move forward. I also think that in several of the plays this year, the characters look at where they have come from and use that information to move forward. A good example is ‘Shakin’ The Mess Outta Misery’.”

With all of that hope and positive change going around, you might approach “Shooting Star” with trepidation, expecting a “heavy, heady” night of theatre. But fear not, for, despite the central subject matter, the presentation of the play remains light and fun. It even includes a rain stick!

“It’s funny,” laughs Adler. “It’s a romantic comedy, but it goes deeper, and that’s a great thing.”