Friday, April 17, 2009

Getting squeezed

Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf opened Wednesday night at the Schwarz Theater at EOU. It's going well. For me it's a gigantic load off.

I've never been involved with a show with such a long drawn out rehearsal schedule. We cast the show in December and began rehearsing in January. Ten days ago the actors were on the verge of panic. Lines were still escaping them and stopping the actors cold in mid scene. Because this show was not part of the main season but was sponsored by the EOU theater club, it was cobbled together without a budget to speak of. I was fortunate to land a stalwart stage manager, Ginger Ranslam, who was indispensable to all of us. We kept salvaged the walls for the set of the production of Little Women that closed before our run and we made do with a black box approach.

The actors met regularly outside of rehearsal to practice. It was an exhausting process but this group was unfailingly kind to one another. Last week it finally came together. Now we're two nights from closing.

It's the nature of the beast to invest so much time and effort, to endeavor to create something, all the while striving to conjure a world that will shimmer for a few hours and then disappear altogether save for a few vestigal memories. My cast has really acquitted itself nicely in this project. They can hold their heads up high and I'm sure they'll get a lot of strokes from people who come to see the show.

It's interesting for me to watch the various audiences who come to the play. It seems to me that younger members laugh at the vulgarity and misogynistic material more than do the older audience members, particularly those who are female. I sense among the latter group a wincing recognition of a familiar reality. Conversely, they seem to like the play more than the younger folks who are impressed by all the sophisticated talk and all the drinking and the sheer audacity of the undertaking but who seem a bit perplexed by the characters themselves. The child that George and Martha create and then kill is not a locus of concern for them as much as it is a puzzle. I wonder if that's because they don't yet know what it means to be a parent.

So for me the squeeze of Virginia Woolf is relaxing. There are couple of other things out there waiting to wrap their tentacles around me after this weekend.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see it. May go twice if there is space left. Loved the juxtaposition/overlap of humanity/humanity, sanity/insanity in reading WAVW and seeing the
"old movie" with Burton/Taylor/ Dennis/Segal. This play really gives actors a full range of emotions to 'emote' and a chance for a cathartic/empathetic overdose for audience members who don't foresee living their lives so dramatically. Again, without conflict, no drama. Without great conflict, no great drama. Can't wait.

Gr K

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meant humanity/inhumanity.

4:55 PM  

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