Well, folks. We’re in the midst of tech week, when the entire company moves into the theatre to finish creating each and every delicately crafted moment of the play, beautifully syncing the work of the actors, designers and every collaborator. I will post soon about everything that happens during tech, but in the meantime here are some notes from our previous week of rehearsal.
We staged the final scene and began to revisit the rest of the play. Actors are working tirelessly to get off-book. Designers and members of the company are visiting rehearsal to discuss props and costumes. Actors are bouncing in and out of rehearsal to go over to Tudor Court for costume fittings. Claudia, the dialect coach, comes in to visit and work with actors. David Woolley, the fight choreographer, and his assistant Charlie have come in to stage several significant moments of violence.
As Cromer said to me on the drive home a few days ago, “We’re deep into Streetcar.”
And we certainly are. Cromer has said that this play is incredibly unwieldy. I looked up the definition of unwieldy and the word could not be more apt for the situation.
unwieldy: difficult to carry or move because of its size, shape, or weight
It really feels that way. First of all, there’s just so much play. 11 big ol’ scenes—some of which are really several scenes, spread out over 3 acts. Tons of props, tons of costumes, on stage violence, accents, emotional depths like you wouldn’t believe: I could go on and on. This play has it all.
This is truly the joy and the challenge of the play. It tests us, stretches us, and is, ultimately, a great gift.
While we, of course, spend lots of time discussing the character journeys and themes, we also dedicate a great deal of time to all the practicalities the play forces us to confront.
One of the most significant challenges—and also the most fun—is the stage violence. There are three moments of violence in the play. Each is carefully crafted and rehearsed endlessly so it functions like a well-oiled machine but appears to be a fresh and impromptu fight.
Our biggest fight in the show is during the poker scene. It involves nearly every character in the play. A radio is shattered; there is fighting in the bedroom, in the kitchen, even in the off-stage shower. I don’t want to give away too much about this moment, but, if you know the play, you know what a pivotal point this is.
Meanwhile, over at Tudor Court, the set is being loaded in. Piece by piece it comes, but the basic structure is there and it’s darn exciting. Stanley and Stella’s home juts out into the space, and the audience surrounds it. There are 9-foot doorways that make for fascinating theatrical architecture and there is even a staircase up to Steve and Eunice’s apartment (characters who live above Stanley and Stella). It’s so neat to have a staircase on stage. Seeing people walk up and down stairs may seem mundane and banal, but it’s actually beautiful and interesting. I can’t wait to see what it all looks like under lights…