Beauty Queen Rehearsals

Posted by Director Traci Brant

Rehearsals are in full swing for The Beauty Queen of Leenane and this is the first time I’ve been inescapably  compelled to write about the process.  Although we met a couple of time before the holidays, the true work didn’t really begin until the first week of January.  We spent the first week rough blocking, and last week the actors dropped their books for the first time. Now is the time when co-director Jonni Pera and I really dig in and have some fun refining the scenes. 

We rehearsed on both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend as requested (really demanded) by our dedicated group of actors. Weekend rehearsals give us the time to experiment with blocking, line-delivery, intention, props, and everything in-between. Jonni and I have really come to enjoy this extra time spent outside our usual Monday-Thursday evening schedule.  
We made so many discoveries during rehearsal, and also an decent amount of progress on the set, but what really struck me was a revelation I had about the play—it’s quite a love story. Perhaps this is not a shock for some, but for me, the play as I read it was so much about the relationship between Mother (Mag) and Daughter (Maureen) that I had not realized the beauty of the *almost* relationship between Maureen and Pato. 
The longing and desperation that Maureen feels is made more apparent when the love story feels true and possible.  I got that feeling at rehearsal this weekend and it was incredible. Much of the credit goes to the talented and hard-working actors playing Maureen (Lisa Formosa-Parmigiano) and Pato (Tim Gleason).  While Tim and I have working together on two other McDonagh plays, this is the first time I’ve directed Lisa on stage. The two of them together up there, is pretty amazing.  
While Beauty Queen certainly does contain it’s fair share of hate, the gut-splitting humor and quiet love story that are nestled in the play have become the driving forces in this CST production.