Inside The Writers’ Room – rehearsals begin!
By Sally Ollove
Producer for The Writers’ Room
We are a week into rehearsals with two open rehearsals under our belts! Passholders who attended our first rehearsal, generic Thursday evening June 20th, saw design presentations in which we learned about the inspiration behind the set, light, sound, and costume designs.
Chris Haig, set designer, has designed a set that takes the realistic front of a house and abstracts it by using a collage of found materials to represent set pieces like the magnolia tree and the grass.
Alison Roberts, costume designer, and Larry Fowler, sound designer, both discussed their role in helping ground an abstract set by providing realistic costumes and sounds. Alison explained that in a project like this one, she thinks about where the characters would shop and Larry discussed the inspiration he’s getting from the backyard of his own home and his decision that Angie, played by Kathryn Peterson, probably owns a Volvo. They pointed out that they have to think about who the character is as a full person–where they shop, what they own–things that aren’t dictated by the script.
We also heard from Dom Chacon, the lighting designer, about some of the qualities of light he’s interested in pursuing. In the follow-up discussion, we talked about how much agency designers can have over the characters as well as some of the technical details of building and running a design. Visit our Flickr page to see some of the inspiration research images.
Our next event took place on Sunday afternoon, June 23rd. We watched 90 minutes of a “tabling” rehearsal, in which the actors and Ed read through scenes, often multiple times. In between, they discuss character choices and why certain choices were made in the writing. Rachel made several cuts in the moment and also took home several questions to work on in more detail. We heard the last section of the play, including the last scene.
Since Sunday, the actors have gotten on their feet and begun blocking the play, figuring out how it works on the stage instead of on the page. Meanwhile, Rachel has written a new version of a scene.
Stay tuned for more reports from inside The Writers’ Room and get your tickets to see At the Old Place July 18-28!