We had a great first staging rehearsal – what a funny, heartbreaking, and totally dirty play! It’s great watching the actors get comfortable with one another, with their characters – watch them figure out who they are and how they relate, the meaning of each line – always looking for what isn’t said, what isn’t obvious. And with Sarah’s (my assistant) keen help, I feel like I’m learning the play, the undercurrents and through-lines, on a level much deeper and only reachable with the actors’ assistance.
We sketched in scene one, laying out the floor plan in our dance studio with little pink tape-flags so we can envision the placement of the walls – that of the building’s facade and the sculpture walls upstage. Just a few days ago Aimee (set designer) broke the upstage sculpture wall into three sections, allowing for two additional entrances/exits. I love this, and I am glad she thinks she’s found a way to make it work. Once lit, I feel certain the characters will seem to appear and disappear within the building, giving depth and suggesting an abstract structure of what the rest of their apartment building is like, while also creating a beautiful to observe surface of found objects in their junked up, lost and found world.
The play begins with Jones and Mystery gettin’ frisky and then quickly progressing to full blown gettin’ it on, and we laughed our way through the uncomfortable directions of “and now you go down on him – can you say that line when you ‘come up for air?’ ” We all stop and laugh and then move forward seriously, considering how the silhouettes of these two figures will look in the window as we choreograph their pornogaphic movements. All the while poor Dalia confesses her love on the street below to her bad boy Jones, tossing chocolates at his window and twirling in her overly-romantic, too-thin-and-summery dress.
Calder brings a certain earthiness to Jones, a Cheshire slyness that is both sexy and sweet. Chelsea started romantic with Mystery, but by the end of rehearsal she’d begun to ground herself in the power of this woman’s physicality – awesome to watch. And Dalia – played by the lovely and poignant Alex – so desperate in her attempt to execute her plan, so deliciously pathetic, she is like a stone striving valiantly to be light enough to float.
Tomorrow we sketch in scene three with Timothy and The Bearer.