by Chris Carcione
The full cast assembled on March 10. After the Meet and Greet (see slideshow below) we read through the script and began “table work,” the process of going slowly through the script and analyzing each scene in terms of back-story, character, and plot. Our dramaturge, Charles Haugland, also presented some relevant research to help the actors better understand the world of the play. For me, table work was a little tedious because I could see the actors getting so excited about the text that I wanted them to just jump up and get on their feet, but this is an important part of the process. I quickly discovered this when we began blocking the show. We spent the rest of the week staging the whole show, trying out different blocking and seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Of course, one of the most thrilling parts of working on a brand new play is that no precedent exists for it; we are creating everything for the first time. It’s a thrill and a privilege to have the playwright in the room during the rehearsal process, particularly for confusing or sticky parts of play. Already, David Grimm has made tiny text changes that seem inconsequential like removing a line or changing a few words, but each edit had proved to have a profound impact of the mood of the scene. It really goes to show how delicate a play is. Each line has volumes behind it and to misplace even one is to alter the whole piece significantly, for better or worse.
It’s great to hear David’s perspective during conversations about the various scenes, but it’s interesting to learn that he doesn’t necessarily have all of the answers. It seems that once he writes the play, it exists somewhat apart from him, and he really lets the characters have a life of their own. He approaches the characters the same way we do, just with a better understanding of where they came from.
After ten days of rehearsal, we have the play fully-staged and are ready to move toward refining and exploring the play on a deeper level. I can’t wait to see this exciting new world come more clearly into focus over the next few weeks!
Meet and Greet Slideshow
The Miracle at Naples, a world premiere by David Grimm, directed by Peter DuBois, April 3 through May 9, 2009 at the Huntington Theatre Company's second stage: the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA> 02116. Buy tickets online or call 617 266-0800. Rated V for Very Adult Comedy.