Monday, August 13, 2012

The First Day of School…er, the first rehearsal

August 13, 2012 

By Nathan Norcross
Playhouse Directing Intern 
Nathan Norcross
Photo by Kat Gloor
Many believe work on a new production begins on the first day of rehearsal, when in actuality the director and the designers have already been collaborating for months to create the world the characters will inhabit. With a World Premiere such as Harbor, there is also often a series of developmental readings for the playwright and director to hear the play aloud. 
Welcoming the actors to this journey already in progress, however, is indeed a special day. Hearing the play for the first time in the voices of those who will ultimately bring the play to an audience is thrilling. And with those voices come the unique minds, souls, and life experiences of the actors – a vital addition to the team as we work through the process of discovering the play together.
The first rehearsal often consists of design presentations, a first read-through, and then the beginning of “table work,” where the actors and director work slowly through the script to discuss the characters’ motivations. We are fortunate to have the playwright, Tony Award-nominated Chad Beguelin, with us as well. Mark Lamos, our director, proved quite adroit in facilitating a table work session defined by questions posed to ignite imaginations rather than answers hastily nailed down.
Mary Zimmerman has eloquently written about this way of working as being archeological rather than architectural. We do not construct the production out of actions suited to individual purposes, but slowly work collectively to un-earth our production, using Chad’s script as our guide. This afternoon, together we began that process of dusting away and discovering Harbor


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