We have moved from our own “church home,” the rehearsal space at the Glencoe Union Church, to the theatre at 325 Tudor Court and the tech process has begun. Jack Magaw’s brilliant set is structurally complete and new details are being added each day; it already feels like the home of Elizabeth Borny in 1943. Ron is working with our lighting designer Heather Gilbert and Josh Schmidt, the sound designer, to create the sense of time, place and focus in the story. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Duke Ellington play as light pours in from the window that overlooks the Harlem street. The actors are doing final fittings and rehearsing quick changes of Nan Cibula-Jenkins’ marvelous costumes. Life is really starting to buzz in the world we are creating.
Even in the tech process, Ron takes time with the actors, continuing to finely craft their relationships. He and the ladies spoke about the dynamics of an older sibling versus a younger sibling. “The younger child is the jewel of the family, no matter how old they get,” Cheryl Lynn pointed out. And John Henry Redwood includes these details in the relationship between Elizabeth and Quilly; though they are both in their fifties, there are moments in which we can see the girls they once were. Moreover, we see the protection and support the elder gives the younger and the way the younger “still thinks they can get away with everything,” as Wandachristine has put it.
There is no place more potent for these sister relationships than in the kitchen. There is an intimacy about this room in any house or apartment. It is a communal place where meals are made and eaten in love and in strife. On Jack’s set, the kitchen is Elizabeth’s “heart” and Ron is taking advantage of this intimacy, staging some lovely moments in this “woman’s space.” In many ways, this kitchen is just as much a creation of Cheryl Lynn as it is of Ron and Jack. She has helped imagine which items Elizabeth would have used in this space during the time period. Our prop designer, Sarah Ross, has acquired cans of evaporated milk, containers of Alaga syrup and other items to which the actresses have attached personal significance for Quilly and Elizabeth. It is rare that Husband goes into this charged space, and when he does, you can be sure that it’s electric.
More next week!