Rehearsal photo essay

Posted in Rehearsal, Summer 2009, Twelfth Night on June 29th, 2009 by kellinewby

Here are some photos from a recent rehearsal that focused on Olivia and Viola’s first encounter (Viola is in disguise as a boy and Olivia falls in love her her/him).

In this shot, you can see what the set looked like as of a week ago, that is to say it was bright green tape on the ground and the All My Sons murals were still up.

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"Call in my gentlewoman."

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My gentlewoman throws my veil o'er my face. Here, my gentlewoman has selected a fake beard as my veil.

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Viola woos Olivia for Orsino (clearly, Olivia is impressed by all of this).

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Malvolio returns the ring that Viola left with Olivia. Only Viola left no ring with Olivia.

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Time for notes!

All My Sons (April 2009)

Posted in Past Shows on June 29th, 2009 by kellinewby

“Comedic directors should always direct tragedy.  It’s easy to drag a play like this down, but a comedian finds the moments of lightness in the script.”  –Ed

We had a fabulous set designer and scene painters lined up.  We had a director who loved the script, loved the stage and realized that many of the themes in All My Sons would compliment our tiny space.  30 people showed up to audition and Ed, the director, had several different casts to choose from.

But there was no Joe.

For anyone who knows Arthur Miller at all, you know that the father figure is the most important figure (tied with the idealistic son) in his plays.  The father is the anchor, the tragic hero in the tradition of Aristotle.  He is the play.

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Ultimately, we had to cast the director in the lead role with the promise that Lex would take over as soon as Ed could no longer work in both capacities (which, we discovered, is just after you’ve blocked everything).  People raised eyebrows, sure.  The director is starring in the play?  Co-Directors?

Hey, when you’ve been working by committee and company for awhile, you can do it.  And we did it.

It was a difficult play that dealt with gray ares of morality, and the death of hope and love due to past mistakes.  It has moments of great loss.  The Keller family lives in their backyard, a simultaneously public and private arena.  A student of mine wrote a blog post about this tension created both in the script and in our tiny space:

When I call the performance a train wreck, I mean that it conveyed the reality of the scenario and characters more perfectly than I could have imagined. I personally felt uncomfortable, like I needed to leave or look away because I shouldn’t be watching this family’s personal drama. It wasn’t a moment for the public eye. Fortunately, it was a moment for the public eye and it was a great story, Miller just really knew how to bring life to an idea.

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The set, designed by Juliana Von Haubrich, was a house with no walls where the audience could see the characters in the moments before they stepped into public view.  The murals, painted by Andrew Davis and Jaye Foxe, conveyed the idea of the neighborhood stretching out to either side (and also into the house).  We had originally wanted a full soundscape to accompany the production in order to create an aural neighborhood, but the constant sounds were distracting and we had to cut them.

All My Sons opened to rave reviews.  Practically every show was sold out.  The production amounted to all the things volunteer theatre can do.  The actors had three months to get to know their characters as well as each other.  Three months to experiment, to find the tragedy in the script and then find the humor in it.  And who knew we’d all come to like Arthur Miller?