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From Emma – Scribble, Simmer, Steep

March 11, 2015

Winter is (slowly) (knock on wood) on its way out, and spring is approaching. With spring comes the enormous, daunting, magnificent Journey from the East (with its large cast, cowboys, dragons, costume quick-changes, and multitude of vehicular needs), as well as the landmark tenth anniversary performance of Young Playwrights’ Festival (with its new preshow party in addition to the glorious postshow gala, as well as a smorgasbord of ridiculous props, sets, costumes, sounds, and more). Besides those main courses, we’ve also got the tasty side dishes that accompany our year – Jp and I still hard at work on grad school assignments; Bill in rehearsal/creation of a new production directed by the one and only Anisa George; Mary directing Velveteen Rabbit over at PYT (it opens next weekend!), plus a multitude of teaching and administrating for all of us (and making up for a multitude of snow days).

And that’s not even including the summer. Oy, the summer.

With all of this artfully productive chaos, it’s incredibly difficult to even think about next season, let alone be rehearsing for it.SONY DSC

Nevertheless, since the start of the new year, Bill, Mary, Josh, Jp, and myself have been meeting once or twice a week (when not otherwise barred by production week crazies) (or those accursed snow gods) to begin creating materials for a new devised piece, to premiere next April.SONY DSC

There’s a lot we don’t know yet, a lot that’s living in the realm of “maybe” and “what if” and “there’s no way we can do this, but how about,” which is a particularly magical place to be. We think there will be four of us onstage. We think we may be merchants characters, in some manner of bazaar. We think there will be magic – or the appearance thereof. We think sound and music are important. We think we know some of what the set looks like.SONY DSC

At Jp’s encouragement, I’m trying to not be stage manager-y and just focus on being an actor-creator. Usually, taking clear, objective, detailed notes is my bread and butter. For this… I still want to take notes, but I’m trying to be less objective about it. More fragments. More scribbling. More drawing in the margins. Less worrying about accuracy.SONY DSC

This feels like a really slow-cooked project for us, which is exciting, especially during this very productive but very busy pressure-cooker of a spring. For this work, for now, there’s time to let things simmer and coalesce. There’s time for the messy drawings to melt together and become something more, or develop for a while before we say, “eh, screw it,” and throw it out the window.SONY DSC

It’s like tea (I’m a minor tea nerd). You don’t let a strong black tea steep for the same amount of time as a flowery herbal tea, or at the same temperature as a more delicate green tea. We’d let a Follies steep for a month or two. We’d let the script for a large-scale community-based work, like A Resting Place or Journey from the East, steep for half to two-thirds of a season. But for next April’s piece? We’re going to let this sucker steep for fifteen months and see what comes out on the other side.

Looking forward to sharing whatever it is we cook up.SONY DSC


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