Friday, June 15, 2012

Boy, that was Julie Cowden

I think I should write about the devising process itself.

I didn't feel all that great about it.

And by that, I mean I didn't think I contributed much to the process itself.  It was hard work - very psychologically demanding.  Most of the time I didn't want to do it because I couldn't see any results coming from all of our efforts. 

But after I read the first draft of Act One, I felt much better about the whole process.  I think Calamity struck just the right balance of humor and yearning that means Chekhov to me.  I just have to keep reminding myself that I had anything to do with that at all. 

Devising is difficult work, but I believe the results will speak for themselves.

A Note from The Ruckus: Common Hatred is opening in just one week on Friday, June 22nd at 8pm at The Side Project Theater (1439 W. Jarvis, Chicago, IL). We hope that you'll join us for opening weekend! You can purchase tickets by visiting Brown Paper Tickets or by calling Elise Mayfield, Marketing Manager, at 205.335.5381. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

I'm Not Selfish. Not a Bit. Now, Let Me Cry by Catherine Bullard

After ten months of thinking about this show, we’ve just begun to talk about Common Hatred as a play in performance.  Karie has said that the play will never be “ready” for an audience, which is good since I still think of this show as a fun game we play in her dining room. Her point is that the play will never feel finished, we’ll just start letting people into the room to wade through with us. That since of cohabitation is important, and it’s something we’re trying to be mindful of even as our characters’ hearts get broken or hopes get fulfilled. Our acting is about making sure we share those emotions with the characters and audience members around us.

In many ways, we’re already doing this. We already take care of each other in the rehearsal room, and we’ll try just about anything to make our fellow cast-mates look good. It’s a healthy, exciting dynamic – and thank goodness, since otherwise this six-month rehearsal process would have flatly sucked. I think audiences will be able to see and feed off of the cast’s love for each other. But here’s the thing: I feel pretty selfish about my character. I helped create her, for crying out loud. I want to take this journey with her.  If she cries, I kind of want to cry, too.

So the challenge will be much the same as any other show, except harder: letting go. That’s always tough, but I argue that in theatre it’s easier when the script is written when you start, or when the play has had countless incarnations before you shake hands with your character. Letting go, for this show, will really be a feat. It will be a statement of enormous trust, as in, “Here, take my newborn while I renew my driver’s license at this downtown DMV.”

As I write, none of us are off-book yet, and we’re still cautiously hopping the inevitable gap between what we devised and the play’s written reality. That’s okay. We have a whole three weeks. Three. Three of them. As for many important things in life, I tell myself that fear is a companion rather than a menace. It’s along for the ride, but it doesn’t signal impending doom. And what we have here is special, and bigger than us, and we want to share it with you.

(A Note from The Ruckus: If you're enthralled by this blog and excited about this show (and we know you are), then you should totally come join us for Brooke Allen's Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's [REDACTED]: a party slash movie slash fundraiser for Common Hatred performing Saturday, June 9th at 8:30pm at The Elegant Mr. Gallery (1355 N. Milwaukee). GAME ON.)