Building a Framework

Posted by Director Traci Brant

Last night, we continued to push through the rough blocking of Act 1.  Our goal this week is to have the entire show rough-blocked so that the actors have the basic framework.  This isn't the most glamorous week of the rehearsal process.  Jonni and I are anxious to start finessing scenes and delving deeper into character development.  BUT this comes first.  I can compare it to the basic framework for a house.  The fun part comes later when you get to pick out the floors and paint and buy the appliances.  

Playwright Jim Henry was in the house last night and we were able to clarify a few moments and talk through some staging.  New ideas emerged as we chatted.  Jim is a great collaborator.  We've worked with him before so our relationship is very comfortable and has grown with each new project.  We've actually been working with Jim on this particular project for nearly 6 months. During that time, we held a staged reading and a couple of table readings with the actors. Jim has used the feedback to make some considerable changes to the script since we first read it more than a year ago.  We had a good discussion last night after rehearsal and may have discovered some interesting ideas for the top of the show and the end of Act 1.  He encouraged us to continue to try a lot of different ideas.  We need create an rehearsal atmosphere where everyone is encouraged to try new/different things with no fear of failure.  Sometimes when one crazy idea doesn't work, it leads you to a perfect moment that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. 

I continue to try to focus my thinking on the storytelling of the piece.  How do we best tell Leonard's story? What can we do as an ensemble to provide clarity and bring the most meaning to the audience experience?  Right now, we've been wrestling a lot with "point of view."  This story is told through the eyes of the main character, Leonard (Josh Eggleston).  Every decision we make needs to be through that lense.  So, it's not about absolute truth--it's about Leonard's truth. That lead us to an interesting conversation about Leonard's character.  What's he like? Who do we know in real life that we might compare him to? 

Tonight, we venture into Act 2 with the full cast.  More thoughts later...