While the summer fellows enjoy the lush, verdant landscape of Ithaca, I find myself covered in the sweat and grime of summer city life in New York. I’m knee-deep in rehearsals for Twelfth Night, which will go up on a warehouse rooftop in Brooklyn the last weekend in July (29, 30 & 31) for three performances only. This site-specific production is being entirely self-produced by myself, a friend/ collaborator of mine (Michael Gend), and two of the actresses (Rebecca Dealy and Claire Needham). The team includes a host of talented actors, designers, and musicians. The performance will feature a live band and original music by fellow CalArtian Chris-Gerard of Poor Dog Group (and New Yorkers—if you don’t know about this group of LA-based experimental ruffians, I’m sure you will catch wind of them very soon…) I hope that you will join us all on the rooftop for a beautiful sunset, an unforgettable view of Manhattan, and a cash-bar. What more could one ask for on a hot summer night? (Tickets at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/187086)
What has been especially exciting about this process has been having the music created in the rehearsal room. Because Chris-Gerard, who is composing the music, is also playing Sir Andrew, it has created a wonderful synthesis of music, text, and action. Instead of writing music and bringing it to the group, Chris-Gerard listens and responds to what the group brings into the room. We will meet before rehearsal and sketch out the beats of each scene, discuss what the mood should be or what moments should be emphasized, and make grunts/noises/sounds in order to express to one another what it should feel like. Then we’ll go into the room, run a scene and Chris-Gerard will be a one-man band while we’re working—singing, stomping, banging, beat-boxing. He’ll listen to the actors; we’ll both give notes—and by the next day he’ll come in with the song—and it will be spot-on. I feel fortunate to be working with such talented collaborators. I’ve worked closely with composers before and I’m starting to realize how important this relationship is for the work I make. For me the music creates a landscape from which ideas can grow—including characters, design, and rhythm of the piece.
I’m very much looking forward to the August retreat with the Fall Fellows (a group of incredible women directors I feel honored to be a part of), and starting our assistantships. But first, back to rehearsal….