Savannah Stage Company has been a part of the local theater community for some time now, presenting thought-provoking performances that often evoke a positive message. Their theme for the current season is bravery, and they’re taking that theme to Forsyth Park for a free, one day only performance of Billy, Goat, Gruff: The Musical.
Ahead of the show, which is set to take place on April 28 at 6:30 p.m. and is 100 percent family friendly, we spoke to SSC Co-Founder and Artistic Director Jayme Tinti about what to expect.
What is this show about?
Tinti: It's based on a fairytale, essentially. A folklore tale, I guess you could say. It's the story of these three goat brothers who are on a mountain and are running out of food. The youngest brother, Billy, talks about the "Pasture of Paradise," which is a lullaby that their mom used to sing them about a pasture full of food and water. Billy says, "Let's go!" and the brothers say no because it's too dangerous.
In the middle of the night, Billy takes off. He goes over cliffs and ravines, and comes up to a nasty troll who guards the bridge to the pasture of paradise. The troll lets him in knowing that he’s supposed to have two big brothers who are supposed to follow him. Eventually all of the goats make it to the bridge, and we learn that the troll was once best friends with their mom, and that’s how he knows the “Pasture of Paradise” song.
It’s about following your heart. The big song towards the end is, “Seek Your Dreams.” That’s the overall theme of this show—if you have a dream, go out there and get it.
This show falls into a theme for this season at SSC, which is bravery. Tell me a bit more about that.
Tinti: Bravery is one of our values as a company. The path that we take for every decision that's made here is, is it in pursuit of our mission and is it part of our values? When you think about bravery, the scariest thing we could think of was doing musicals. We usually do one per year, and they take it out of us. When we thought about the scariest thing, we thought about musicals. So we decided to do an entire season of musicals!
We also chose stories that specifically had an act of bravery, where a character in the play makes a decision to change their life and the lives of those around them. For this particular play, the moment that Billy decides to take off and be brave in the night to better the lives of him and his brothers, that’s the moment of bravery for us.
The idea of doing a free performance at Forsyth with a show like this also seems to fall in line with that theme, since you’re doing a certain kind of show that’s a bit out of your comfort zone and putting it out there for the city.
Tinti: Absolutely. When we talk about our values and who we are as a company, everything we talk about happens onstage and off. Yes, we do shows that demonstrate an act of bravery, but how do we from an administrative standpoint also be as brave as possible?
Doing free programming in the park is nothing new to us—even in our first season we were doing Shakespeare sonnets in the park. It goes back to our mission of accessibility, and making theater as accessible as possible. And what’s more accessible than free in the middle of the park?
We’ve had turnouts for these things in the past that just really feel like they’re putting a large dent of the city there. You can bring picnic blankets, kids, dogs, and just experience nontraditional theater with the most beautiful backdrop in town.