Rebecca Ayala has lent her creative talent to Picketwire productions for many seasons. However, there is a good chance that theatergoers may not immediately recognize the contributions she has made behind the scenes. For the past eleven years, Rebecca has worked as a costumer at Picketwire, providing costumes for a diverse amount of projects ranging from summer musicals to period dramas. “Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe” will mark her first foray into directing. When asked what inspired her to take on this new challenge, Rebecca shared, “for a long time I was content with doing costuming for the theater. However, as I spent more and more time being involved, I found myself pulled to different aspects of productions. Directors would ask me for feedback on other elements of the show, and it got me curious about becoming a director myself. As I continued to gain experience, I began to feel more confident in my own ability to direct. This theater has always been a haven for me. No matter how hectic or stressful a production may be, this theater is always a happy place. So, I was excited to give more of my time to this theater as a director.
“I have enjoyed working with my daughter during this production. We are very much alike and know how to talk to one another. I appreciate Courtney’s work on this show.”
For Rebecca, “Nightfall” is also a family affair, with her daughter Courtney Ayala assuming the role of Assistant Director. While some might hesitate to team up with a family member when tackling a creative challenge, that is not the case for this mother-daughter duo. “I have enjoyed working with my daughter during this production. We are very much alike and know how to talk to one another. I appreciate Courtney’s work on this show. Her youth, energy and sharpness have helped solve so many problems as we’ve moved through this production,” shared Rebecca. Courtney echoes those same sentiments stating, “It’s been fun working with my mom. We have worked together on costuming, so we already understand one another’s creative process.”
When asked what inspired Rebecca to select a work by Poe, she shared “It was actually Courtney’s idea to do this show. My initial vision to was to direct a production of “Peter Pan” this fall. As the pandemic has gone on, it became clear that “Peter Pan” would not be able to happen this year due to the large cast size it requires. However, I still wanted to direct and be able to offer something to the community. We went back to the drawing board, and selected “Nightfall.” Courtney shared “I have loved Poe since I was thirteen years old, so for me, this show was a natural choice. I think that many people share my love of Poe, and will enjoy seeing his work on stage, especially at this time of year.” Rebecca shared that while always a fan, she has come to appreciate Poe’s work even more through the course of this show. “Poe’s writing is sometimes viewed as creepy and ghoulish. Yet in many ways, he is very relatable. He was a troubled man who lived in a dark Bostonian time. He had a difficult childhood and a hard life. Despite all this, there is some humor to his thoughts and crazy imagination.” Rebecca shared that “Nightfall” felt like a good choice for several pragmatic reasons as well. “The pandemic casts uncertainty over this play in several ways. This show has a small cast and crew. That was important to me in terms of being able to ensure that we are being as safe as possible. Also, with the uncertainty of ticket sales, I wanted to be able to keep this play budget friendly, which we have been able to do.” Despite the small cast and limited overhead costs, audiences are in for a fully immersive experience with “Nightfall.” With her background in art and costume work, Rebecca and the cast and crew of “Nightfall” have brought to life a beautiful production that does not feel lacking in any respect.
Production dates for “Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe” are set for October 15th, 16th and 17th at 7:30 P.M. at the Picketwire Center for Performing and Visual Arts in La Junta. Tickets are $15.00. Tickets can be purchased at www.picketwireplayers.org or at the box office on show nights. Masks will be required and social distancing will be practiced. For questions, call the theater at 719-384-8320.