It's in the rehearsal room where all the magic happens, and it's my favorite place in the theater. It's that place like the sandbox or the playground where the outside world disappears and a child's imagination would just soar, and for those of us who never "grew up" we can continue with our childlike nature.
The playwright's job is to write whatever you want, whatever you can imagine, and don't worry how it's going to get done. So, in Plank, we have stage directions like these:
"A seagull alights on the plank. The seagull and POTPEE consider one another. The seagull flies off: Kaa-kaa."
"THIMBLE looks down in the water, around the plank. POTPEE surfaces with a roar like a breaching great white shark and grabs THIMBLE by the neck and drags him/her under. POTPEE resurfaces, spits a stream of water from her mouth, and remounts the plank. She paddles back out to sea."
Watching OUT LOUD Theatre's ensemble approach the script is just plain fun. And it's also part of a larger process. I suspect that Plank will someday be a full-length play because of the way the script already has grown from a ten-minute play to a 40-minute one-act, with no end in sight yet. And now, from conversations with the actors and Kira Hawkridge, the director, my imagination is opening up into other areas for exploration. It was Kira's idea to use actors for the Ocean. It's an easy leap from that suggestion (and this playwright being open to the suggestion) to the playwright adding these characters to the script and start imagining the details of the characters who make up the Ocean: Their names, personalities, and what they might say and do, again, based on conversations and experimentation in the rehearsal room.
I hope this gives you some insight into the process of developing the production that will be at the Providence Fringe Festival, and that we'll see you at the theater.
Alley Cat Theater
Alley Cat Theater produces new work that is intelligent, compelling, and thoughtful, telling stories by pushing the boundaries of the theater.