Dawn Farr decided to judge a play by its title — and now, she’s directing that play, “The Busy World is Hushed,” for the Rochester Repertory Theatre.
“I saw the title on the play listing in the Dramatists Play Service, and the title sounded interesting; the write-up sounded interesting, so I ordered the script,” Farr said. When the script arrived, she said, “It really grabbed me. That’s one of the few times I’ve read a script in one sitting.”
The play, which opens Jan. 16, revolves around Hannah, a widowed Episcopal minister; her wayward son, Thomas; and Brandt, the young man she hires to help her write an article about a newly discovered gospel. The play deals with several issues, including female clergy, sexuality, single parenting and caring for a dying parent.
“We decided it would be a good venue for people to open up and talk,” Farr said. “That’s what the Rep is all about.”
The play, written by Keith Bunin, opened in 2006 in New York, with Jill Clayburgh as Hannah.
The themes can make the play sound like a heavy outing, but Farr said that’s not the case.
“It’s a challenge to the audience, but there are light moments, there is some humor,” she said. “I’m hoping people will be curious. We have a lot of patrons at the Rep who like plays that make them think.”
Farr has cast Kelly Hain as Hannah, Tyler Irvin as Brand and newcomer Ben Menning as Thomas. Much of rehearsal time, Farr said, has been given over to learning about the characters and their relationships with each other. “We’ve talked a lot about who these people are,” she said.
Farr previously directed the drama “A Walk in the Woods” in 2013 and the comic drama “The Dixie Swim Club” in 2014 at the Rep.