holes and poles

At the premeeting before our production meeting a few days ago, Angela and Sarah and I had a conversation about the nature of sex in the world of Spark. Not only is there a complete lack of intimacy in this society, there is also a complete disregard for the pleasure and comfort of others. In the most basest of sense – how we’ve come to describe these physical encounters – it’s about holes and poles. These people see orifices and the things they want to do with and to them. That is all.

It’s funny to talk about, but in thinking on it further, it’s further evidence that these are tragic people in a tragic world. I love that. The thespian in me loves that – this dark, funny story about really sad and pathetic people. But there are also those trying to right the world, as there should be, striving to rectify the situation and rise above the inevitable. It’s the reason to get out of bed in the morning when you’ve taken too much of the world into your soul.

The production meeting went well. Lots of great ideas – no surprise there. Most notably we coined a new design concept – “orgasming the stage.” These cool moments will apply to Aphro and her magical mojo. Both the sound and lighting designer got off on this idea, as did the rest of us. If we can pull it off I think it will be amazing.

Rehearsals this week were both incredible and tough. The larger scenes are a challenge – in part due to evening rehearsals after everyone’s work day. It can be hard to concentrate, to keep the group focused, especially when we’re reading and tableworking and getting rewrites and staging all in the same three hours. I almost lost my mind on Thursday; I just couldn’t crack the riddle to a particular scene. Plus, as it happens with new works, I don’t always see exactly eye-to-eye with Angela. Of course I want to serve the play and her vision. I think mostly, we always get there. It just takes some talking through, and that can be hard to do in a group setting. But this happens – it’s all part of the process.

As the rehearsal room emptied and we let actors go, the work improved because I think the focus tightened. We figured out some of the movement for Aphro and Horny Toad, and the stage combat for Cup and Horny Toad. These were major accomplishments. The messy staging can be cleaned up as we go along. Again, such is the process. It’s not all perfect on the first go, as Malcolm said the other night while we cleaned up. True that.

The prior rehearsal went amazing well – as some do. It was a very small group and we had a great time staging scene 5. Micheal and Chelsea have come up with some pretty fun mannerisms for their characters, and Cindy really started to sink into the manic sexiness of Marked. She’s got a great walk – and I can’t wait to see what else she comes up as we continue to work the scene. Plus, we added lollipops – and who doesn’t like a lollipop in a dirty play?

It’s also been hard, I think, because of the month. It was a year ago this month that my dad died. I so wish he were here to know about this show. He always worried about whether or not I could sustain my love of theater, whether or not I could make a living in this world. For most of us, our careers aren’t what we dreamed of, what we thought we wanted, but they are real and multifaceted and amazing and full of challenges and just all around great. We’re in NYC, making theater. We started with nothing but an idea and desire, and we’ll end up with some beautiful and true. What could be more fantastic?

I think that when we travel to dark places, whether by choice or by necessity, it can actually allow us to tap into fresh reserves of empathy, allow us to more deeply understand one another and in turn our characters. I said last night that theater is how I make sense of the world. I can trace back into my childhood when this became true – or rather then I discovered this truth. And no matter the role I play from project to project, I think I will always have this to hold on to.

Today we interview potential stage managers. Wish us luck! We’re growing Team Spark.


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