Monday, April 2, 2012

An Audience is the Final Ingredient

April 2, 2012

By Bryan Hunt
Assistant Director, Into the Woods

The Company
Well, Into the Woods is open down here in Baltimore. All of us have felt incredibly proud of the production and very fortunate that we get to share it with the people of Baltimore, and can't wait to bring it to Westport in the coming weeks. 
It's funny how art can sometimes mirror life. As we worked our way through technical rehearsals, incorporating the work of our designers, we often found ourselves a bit lost in the woods. When we first approached the play we had this notion that it was going to be a rather simple and fun walk through the woods, telling these great little stories with some incredible music to underscore the narrative. But we slowly found this show is deceptively trickier than it looks on the page. Scenes shift radically from one location to another, villages must turn into forests in a matter of seconds, people of the forest must appear and disappear, and oh yes…we have to find a way to do it with some of the trickiest musical scoring in show business.
Lauren Kennedy & Britney Coleman
It became a game of chess for us watching as well as those backstage. If a tree were to be placed ten feet further right at this moment, 45 minutes later in the show a crew member would not be able to sneak on and get it offstage. But after many late night meetings everything was straightened out and the production was ready to Preview.

Previews are a very interesting time for a director and the rest of the creative team. You've been watching the show nearly every day for 4 weeks, so you think you have a good idea of what's been put onstage. But as soon as an audience walks in, it's as if those 4 weeks have been washed away and you're seeing the production truly for the first time. Hysterical moments in rehearsal all of a sudden are not funny at all, while others that bored you to tears just a few days prior get the biggest reaction from audience members. It's something even the best directors can't predict. An audience is the final ingredient to the creative process. They are a character, living and breathing with the actors onstage that can drastically change the dynamics of a production. And as well they should be. They are, after all, for whom this work is intended.

Audiences in Baltimore are loving their time in the woods and we hope everyone in Westport will too.


Erik Liberman & Nik Walker

Check out these fun links:
Click here to meet the cast of Into the Woods.


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