Starting rehearsals for a new show is always an exciting time. Working on a play brings people together in a unique way, in an intense work period, for a very short time. The other night the cast and production team gathered in a large room for a read-thru of the play. Up on a white board was written the show’s name, production dates and some other details.
One person pointed out, “Hey! We better get started. We close in exactly two months!”
He was right and I was surprised. Two months is nothing, and it feels like we have all the time in the world. Of course, this play was cast over eight months ago, and there have been a number of production meetings and marketing plans implemented, so it’s just the heart of it that will be a two-month adventure.
And that’s the exciting part. This is a smart, farcical, romantic comedy and I think we’re all excited by the great cast. There were plenty of laughs in that room, and one or two tough-not-to-break moments were already identified. I’m thrilled to be working the volume and levels of talent there too.
I’m sure a few weeks from now I’ll still think it’s hilarious and yet never even laugh. It’s a weird phenomenon that happens the closer you get to material, whether it’s comedy or drama—you can still be moved but not really express it.
What I’m not as clear about yet is what I’m doing for the next 4+ weeks of rehearsal.
For this production I’m the Assistant Director, a position I haven’t officially done in a while and one which can vary from director to director. I’m really there as a second set of eyes and ears, and I’m there to do whatever the director needs doing. I just don’t know what that is yet.
I’ve worked on shows as an actor where the A.D. was highly involved, occasionally working scenes in a room separate from the main rehearsal, and ones where this person was fairly invisible and never seemed to say or do anything. I’ve been the assistant to a few directors in the past where I was having conversations with him or her during rehearsals, acting as a sounding board and offering requested advice, or where I’ve taken notes in rehearsals only to share them afterwards.
We begin full rehearsals this week. I’m not a novice to the environment, but this time I have no idea of what I’m going to do.
Since this is a production of Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker, I guess being ready for “an adventure” is right on target.