A Twist of Water

The first shock to the system

Posted by Erica Weiss on February 10, 2011

It’s been a while! We’ve been a little busy.

Last night was our final evening in the rehearsal space at Northshore Baptist Church in Andersonville (THANK YOU, NORTHSHORE BAPTISIT CHURCH!). Tonight, we move into our performance space at Theater Wit and onto Stephen H Carmody’s beautiful set. The myriad technical elements, so integral to this show, like lights, and music, and projections, now come into the process. It is no longer our little band of 7 (a four-person cast, our stage manager, our assistant stage manager, our assistant director, and myself). It’s time to expand our family – and how appropriate for this play.

For the past three weeks, we’ve been working with the bare minimum in furniture. Folding chairs, a piano bench that stands in for a teacher’s desk, and an invisible kitchen table. The show has very few props, but we’ve been miming a bottle of orange juice, a bottle of gin, a laptop, etc. The cast has been using their own cell phones, and their own coats. The rehearsal room is barely more than half the width and depth of our actual stage. The set has a long curved platform with stairs and a cut-out wall with a door, and we’ve done all our rehearsals at one level on a dirty (it’s been a little snowy out here in Chicago) floor with tape to indicate the most approximate of approximate playing areas on the ground. Bringing the show to its feet, adding all these new physical elements, is a shock to the system.

The smaller shock, though, the one that makes you understand that this show is really happening and here-we-go… In rehearsal, Rita Vreeland (our amazing stage manager), starts and ends each act with the words: “And, we’re in black-out. And, lights.” But starting this week, the lights will go up and down without a word, bookending the play as a piece of theatre, ready for an audience to experience in the dark. It’s a small thing, but it’s what gives me goosebumps.

It’s been a joy and a challenge so far. Bring on the curveballs and obstacles and opportunities! Bring on the transition! Shock our systems.

Here we go…

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