If you're around my town or you've been in touch with my adventures at all this summer you'll know that right now I'm immersed in rehearsals for "Another Side of the Island," an adaptation of Shakespeare's Tempest, by Olympia Dukakis and friends.
Everyone is very excited to have Ms. Dukakis in town doing the show. Maybe because she's not of my generation, I felt less excitement about the whole thing and more apprehension - would we be able to offer what she's used to in regards to the process?
It's been a rollercoaster but fortunately we've become desensatized to the many, how shall we call them... Greek Tempests.
I'm glad I had a chance to chat for a few minutes with one of the directors about any tips on working with Olympia before we got started, or the first storm would've scared me (not that I haven't seen my directorial and actorly Storms before).
One minute you're quietly discussing the scene in a nice, indoor voice, the next, the passion and intensity shoots from 0 to 60 in .5 and we're shouting and pounding the table. Funnily enough, it's never in anger, hence the lack of fear. It's best to let the storm roil and roll on. It's when too many people get caught up and everyone is getting louder fighting to be heard that stage management must step in. Otherwise, I've accepted it as part of the process.
I'm also fascinated to see the conflicts that come with a directorial Team. I've always thought it was best to have one person at the wheel and most of the time I think it would've been true here, too, especially when it comes to one director blocking a scene happily, another director stepping in to observe and saying, "Have you thought of this...?" Which is usually opposite of the first director's intention, and lastly, the leading lady offering her opinion until the actress who is actually in the scene is driven to tears.
All in a day's work.
There are also moments when it's handy to have two directors who can, for lack of a better term, team-rope an actor into making a decision that's best for the play, when otherwise an argument could go on and on.
We've also changed rehearsal spaces three times throughout the process of this rehearsal for various reasons. Today we finally get to move to the theatre and work onstage, but we aren't allowed backstage yet because of the school's cleaning schedule.
I'm struggling through all the tempests and the details and the contradicting opinions to keep a handle on what I need to accomplish and yet things still slip through the cracks. Such as choosing to shorten lunch break today to one hour, which then interferes with photographers that we had coming in, hoping for interviews.
But we shouldn't have to schedule around PR, right?
Still...I have to reorient and find my omnicient, all-seeing SM self to make it through the rest of this week. There will be no sliding Home in this production.
I keep telling myself I would be bored if I was working in the bookstore right now...and it'll all be worth it when the lights go up, the fog rolls in and we hear that first thunderclap ring through the house. Not for us - for them. For the audience. I want to see their faces when they see what we've been trying to see and create these last weeks. That's what it's about.
That's what gets me through.