This week has been all about building the ensemble of lab actors. It has been an invigorating process, watching these 17 actors and 4 Ads come together as individuals and meld into a cohesive ensemble. Amy, Jess, Patrick, and I have been guiding this process and we’ve been able to learn so much about these actors as we’ve watched them open up to each other and develop a common language and a trust that will support them as we move through the summer together.
The week wrapped up with a devising workshop for the actors and ADs in which we gave them prompts and a few rules and set them free to collaborate together.
On the first day I was shadowing one of the groups and I heard one of the actors ask “Where do you start when making a play?”
Where do you start?
How do you start?
Here we are at the beginning. Most of us are begin rehearsal on today and where do we begin?
Yes, we have prepped. Yes, we will begin at the table and read a text. Yes, we come in with questions and ideas.
Before that is our imagination and our impulse. The instinct that lives in our gut. This is the place where we really begin. It is the foundation of our artistic process. It’s how we know what we like and what we believe in. It’s how we know when to let go of an idea and when to follow it through to its end.
All week we have been trying to unlock the actors and ADs imaginations and impulses. We have been asking them to trust what they have and bring that into the room so that they can push themselves past their boundaries, past their assumptions, past their self-imposed limits. It has been a stunning reminder of what we need to do as directors.
The lab company’s bravery to walk into the room and become an ensemble has been astounding. It has made the first step into rehearsal full of excitement. This is where I want to begin this summer. Excited to be in these rooms, with these plays, and these people.
And so it begins. We start from the excitement we bring into the room and we carry it with us through our imagination and impulse.