Saturday, March 16, 2013

37th Humana Festival of New American Plays Days ?-23

Let me just get right down to the nitty gritty. Sh*t has changed.

Yes.

When I first started this adventure I asked some of my fellow cast-mates what their best advice was for working on a new play. They said "Girl, do not get attached."

Yeah . . .  so . . .

We've been very fortunate for the last week or so to have had 2 or 3 test audiences to help the team with some logistics as well as tell how the story may or (may not) take shape for future audiences. It's been unnerving to have an audience come in so soon in the rehearsal process. Normally you can guarantee the work won't be seen until invited dresses or previews, which happen after 4-5 weeks. It's weird to look someone in the eye and see their whole person just staring at you and you're like, "Holy moley, what the F am I saying!"

This play is in flux, seeking what it's meant to be. For now. And now. And now. You get the idea. Mallery Avedon (playwright) has an opportunity to see her vision through and test audiences can tell one a great deal about how the play is going--is the main message getting across? Where is there un-curated confusion? What I am asked to do is roll with the punches and I am for the most part, but damn it's a challenge! Working on the gracefully part.

So now we're entering tech week when things will still be changing as we set lighting, sound and other design elements. Paradoxes abound. Headaches creep in. Hearts will break. We hope.

Here goes . . . .!

©GISELA CHIPE


Friday, March 8, 2013

37th Humana Festival of New American Plays Days 8-?

As you might have seen, if you are following this blog, I am behind in my chronicling! It is now Friday March 8th, 2013 and we are already deep into the rehearsal process for O Guru Guru thought it's only been two weeks since we began! We had our first run-thru (which our director Lila Neugebauer kindly called a Stumble-thru so as to alleviate any pressure on the cast to PERFORM). "The show is in a good place," Lila said, "We are exactly where we should be and have plenty of time." Watching the show in full gave me a greater sense of how the parts of this Triptych come together, give friction to, illuminate one another.

It's an incredible thing to just breathe. (Now you try :)

On the rehearsal schedule emailed to us daily there is a section labeled "Quote of the day" in which appear, as you might imagine notable quotes from the previous day's rehearsal.  Here are some of my favorites:

"What play are we doing?"--Kristin

"I am writing down 'Daphne dancing, where to put it?'"--Lila

"The show is kinda like Fight Club. We don't talk about it."--Leslie

We've had two shows open since my last post. The Delling Shore by Sam Marks and expertly directed by Associate Artistic Director Meredith McDonough, Opened on March 1 in the Bingham Theater--a beautiful in-the-round space, intimate, super malleable. It was a verbal firing squad kind of play which you could not help but stand in front of and enjoy--my opinion, of course.

Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, directed by Gary Griffin, had its Opening Night last night in the Pamela Brown Auditorium to a delighted and energetic audience of locals (die hards) and SETC (South Eastern Theatre Conference) visitors. The play was so good. Challenging stereotypes of Southerness (USA) while embracing the haunting aspects of family and social history. Modern intellectual sparing with hints of Southern melodrama.

At the Opening Night Party for Appropriate, Les Waters made a short but appreciative speech to all involved, closing with "Two down!"--sending a thrill up my spine.
© GISELA CHIPE