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Dramaturg’s Notebook: 12/4 December 5, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Beard of Avon, Dramaturg's Notebook, Twelfth Night , add a comment

Our third rehearsal began with a meet and greet with the entire PCS staff. It takes a lot of bodies to get a production on its feet, and we had a sizable congregation to meet or greet.  We introduced ourselves with a brief explanation of our first exposure to Shakespeare.  There was a diverse set of introductions, from “the horrible Ms. Butts” high school English to the Little Rascals to RSC in the park. It was great to be better acquainted with the faces on staff (and to indulge with a slice of delicious beet cake).

Tablework resumed shortly after the meet and greet and continued through the end of the day. We made it through the first scene of Beard of Avon working backwards through the text. Twelfth Night is also making marked progress, though the nature of Shakespeare script work slows its pace.  In addition to talking about ideas, characters and plot elements, Shakespeare often necessitates a consideration of punctuation and changes to the script which will inform the development process.  It’s been a fascinating process, and my list of research topics is getting dangerously long!

Dramaturg’s Notebook: 12/2 December 5, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Beard of Avon, Dramaturg's Notebook, Twelfth Night , add a comment

Today marks the beginning of the tablework process for both plays. I like tablework, particularly because it is an active outlet for dramaturgy. I think I was particularly antsy to get this process underway after spending he past few weeks holed up in my apartment (or nursing the same cup of coffee for six hours at Pix Patisserie) absorbing information. While I’m glad I had the opportunity to fill my dramaturg’s filodex, my brain was telling me it was time for me to be engaged in a different set of pursuits.

I’ve been really impressed by the collective group of minds in this production process.  It’s fascinating to consider the perspectives, insights, and personal research of our assembly as it informs the business of the texts. Everyone here has a lot of gifts to offer the process, and, as the holiday music in the PCS lobby reminds me, ’tis the season for giving.

We made it through the entire second act working backwards through Beard of Avon. Chris brought this back-to-front approach to tablework after reading Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It’s an interesting process to approach Freed’s story from this perspective, particularly as it reveals how the story is told.

Our Twelfth Night tablework included a lively discussion about the use of dialect. Using British dialect goes against the grain of most American theatre training, but the use of dialect could tie the two productions together.  What does the use of dialect in Shakespeare imply? How will our audience perceive this choice?  These are big ideas to consider, and I am glad we have the time to flesh out both perspectives in rehearsal. We also began to look at the first few scenes beat by beat.  We’re well on our way…

Dramaturg’s Notebook: 12/1 December 4, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Dramaturg's Notebook , add a comment

A first rehearsal traditional brings new names, new faces and a handful of paperwork.  This first rehearsal also brought two scripts, two directors, and a challenge: make both plays work on their own and as compliments to one another.  Chris spoke about the impetus to produce the two plays in repertoire. He spoke of “Will’s journey as an artist as he discovers the genius within himself,” in Beard of Avon. Jane, when speaking of Twelfth Night discussed the confluence between the pieces more thoroughly and discussed her idea to shift from a very theatrical world before “getting to real.”

We also had the pleasure of hearing two designers talk about their designs. Bill  reviewed his scenic design, which requires a strong vein of economy and adaptability to suit two very different texts and two directors. Deb also spoke about her costumes and the challenge that is brought about with living in the same clothes in different worlds. This idea is even reflected in her choice of color.The rest of the day was spent reading both the texts (in full dialect!). I am always impressed by how the simple gesture of connecting a person to a character can help to bring clarity to a script. For me, hearing the text spoken aloud brings a sense of tangibility to my role within the production. I am very excited to see how these plays will take shape and adapt over the rehearsal process.