It’s that time again! It’s time for another beginning.
There’s something inevitably exciting about starting a new show.
I have been doing this for eight years now (if I remember properly, which I frequently don’t, Britches and Hose started rehearsals for our first show in October of 2010). In those eight years, I have never gotten tired of the very beginning.
I have gotten tired of a lot of things; I’m sometimes tired of blocking (blocking is not always the most exciting part of the process, in my humble opinion), and I am occasionally very old and subsequently a little tired of the stress that comes from the intensity of any theatrical situation, but I will never get tired of starting an exciting new project.
There is nothing quite as delightful as a new group of enthusiastic actors exploring a new script, forming fresh, very strongly-held ideas (and these ideas may differ from those of the director) about brand new characters, looking forward to finding out which of their old friends are in the cast, and how many new company members we’re going to get.
It’s such a treat to be a part of the beginning.
Our illustrious director, Mr. Dan Clark (previous credits include Macbeth, Edward II, and my personal favorite, Heartbreak House), gave our cast a little pep talk before beginning the first readthrough, and it rang truer to me than any pep talk I’ve ever heard in this rehearsal space before.
“This is a seven-person cast,” he told us, “a very small cast. Small cast shows can be wonderful, intense experiences; you’re all going to get to know each other very well, and we’re going to be a pretty tight-knit family by tech week.”
NB: This is not a direct quote. I’m paraphrasing.
Truer words may have ne’er been spoken. Part of the magic of any theatrical experience comes from the bond that forms between cast members. Cast connections are crucial even in a large cast, but in a small cast like this, everything is just a bit more real, intense and fantastic. Spending hours every week working closely as a team, especially in an emotionally complex show like Hedda Gabler, has a way of bringing people very abruptly and very tightly together.
I formed some of my all-time closest friendships during small cast shows; remind me to tell you the story, sometime, of our very first production of Twelfth Night.
This cast is a lovely collection of newer friends and veteran Hose. We’ll be featuring Lori Brooks (formerly our effervescent Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as the conniving Hedda Gabler, Kelly Hanson (Ceres, in The Tempest) as sweet, obliging Aunt Julia Tesman, Daniel Rinehart (most recently Prospero in The Tempest, other credits include Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing and Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet) as brilliant and yet charmingly clueless George Tesman, Hannah Neville (Stephano in The Tempest) as the romantic and compelling Eilert Luvborg (Fair warning, I have a tendency to misspell that character name), Mandi Ellis (Credits include Ursula in Much Ado About Nothing and Ellie Dunn in Heartbreak House) as beleaguered maid Berta, and Megan Fraedrich (Credits include Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and several roles in our most recent New Works Festival) as perhaps the most sympathetic Judge Brack you’ve ever seen.
We are excited and delighted to welcome Sarah Schettini as the timidly devoted Thea Elvstead, and I look forward to introducing you to her properly a couple of weeks! I’m hoping to do an interview.
Actually, over the next couple of months, it’s my goal to talk with each of the actors and with each member of the production team, to get everybody’s individual spin on what it’s like to create a live theater production from the ground up. I’ll have the opportunity to share a little bit of our creation process with you, and to let you join in that lovely small-cast family that we’ll be creating as Hedda Gabler comes together.
With that goal in mind, I have a little surprise for you. Dan and Leandra have been letting me hang out in rehearsal to take some photos and videos of the cast, so that you can really see and be a part of the creation process! This week, I have some footage of our first readthrough and of our second rehearsal week, featuring Kelly Hanson (at her very first Hedda rehearsal!) Lori Brooks, Daniel Rinehart, and Hannah Neville.
You can find this exclusive behind-the-scenes rehearsal content at the Britches and Hose Patreon page, and I’ll be adding more each week!
Here’s our Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=7445746
This week, our photos and videos are totally free! Next week, and once a month from now on, they’ll be available only to members and pledges, so please consider signing up so that you can stay up-to-date with our backstage adventures!
I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with all of you.
Sincerely and enthusiastically,