Local community theatre director Robert MacIntyre is a busy man, one who is nearly always at work on some story or another. His current endeavor: to bring the cult classic movie “The Breakfast Club” to the stage.
As for what stage that will be, MacIntyre is currently in discussions with Apple Hill Playhouse in Delmont about the possibility of using their stage. Original plans were to develop a partnership with a local business, the Keynote Cafe. According to MacIntyre, he aims to put on the show in mid-August as originally planned.
Part of the reason why MacIntyre is eager to bring “The Breakfast Club” to the stage is because of its continued relevance; he believes that the movie is timeless, despite being set in the 80’s.
“The story can be lifted, put anywhere. There are always stereotypes – the brain, the basket case. These are always there and they’re hard to see past. It’s hard to see who we are,” said MacIntyre.
According to MacIntyre, the movie shows that different groups all have social pressures in adolescence. No matter what clique they belong to, teens struggle with growing up.
“I relate to Bender. And I was guilty of it, too.” He recalls being in high school and says that he and his friends did what was expected of them without considering that others might have the same motives. “We’re all pretty much the same at the core. We all just want to belong.”
MacIntyre also points to tension between generations as another timeless theme. The presence of two adults in the film helps to highlight how regardless of time period, teens and adults are in conflict. The movie does an excellent job of portraying the dissonance teens experience as they take on responsibility and make decisions while still remaining under the control of those older than them.
As for staging the show, MacIntyre shared some of his ideas for how to make the transition from the big screen to the stage. When approaching any script, MacIntyre says that he does not have any specific thought process by which he makes directorial decisions. Rather, he compared the process to reading a book – readers typically don’t work to picture the scenes in their heads. They’re just there.
Making the images in his head slot together smoothly is slightly more difficult. Here, MacIntyre focuses on making the scenes flow. He thinks in terms of stage efficiency, of what set-up creates the most workable area on stage. More so than practicality, however, he once again reminds me that it’s about the story. “What will the audience believe?”
He noted that the majority of the story of The Breakfast Club takes place in the library, which eliminates much of the need for set changes. Some work with spotlights can create a sense of isolation for smaller scenes that take place outside the library.
When asked about one of the most famous scenes in the movie, MacIntyre said that “The hallway scene is comedy – it’s Scooby Doo, the gang running through all these doors and popping out in impossible places.” He emphasized that it doesn’t have to make sense and in fact, it shouldn’t. The comedic oddity and impossibility of it is what will make it work on stage.
MacIntyre has the experience to back this up. He has been a fixture in local community theatre for roughly twenty years, directing his first show two years into this career. Writing for theatre followed not long after; his first shot came during a show he was directing. He recalls that parts of the script didn’t sit right with him; as a result, he ended up rewriting a good deal of it.
Since then, MacIntyre has been commissioned to write characters into scripts. He notes that it can be a challenge to make sure that what he adds matches the style of the original playwright; however, it is work that he enjoys.
“Pirates of Treasure Island”, put on in the spring of 2014, was the first full-length script that MacIntyre wrote from scratch. In addition, it was the first of his original scripts to be produced. He has already crafted a sequel titled “Pirate Queens” and is currently raising funds to put it on.
In addition to his skills as a writer, MacIntyre has gained a reputation as a fight choreographer. Recent work includes the battle scene from Penn Trafford High School’s production of “Shrek” as well as The Trafford Theatre Factory’s production of “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” which he directed.