Thursday, July 7, 2011
Mute opens at the Fringe!
Mute opened last night at the Annex Theatre within the Randolph Centre for the Arts (736 Bathurst Street). It's been a pleasure working on this play, though I wish the rehearsal schedule had given me time to be in the room more. It's always wonderful to be a part of a show where everyone (playwright, director, actors, designers) is incredibly smart and essentially in sync with each other. My job has mainly entailed some talks with Wren Handman, our playwright, to tighten the script a little and make some further sense of the transitions and text, to preserve her intention in the rehearsal room. I've been in the room for some table reading, introducing the ideas, and then a couple of times down the road to see what was getting across and what wasn't. Also, I did a little bit of research on PTSD and what that entails for both the sufferer and the social worker involved (thankfully, one of the places where I work has that kind of information handy). I am very proud of everyone involved, and it looks like people are intrigued by the show and we're generating some buzz. Hopefully we'll generate even more after this very nice review from Mooney on Theatre.
We also did a video interview, which will likely be up soonish. In lieu of the playwright being there (she's in BC), I talked too much, which is probably why the reviewer mentioned me in her piece. One of the things that I feel very honoured about, working on this show, is that there is very little ego and people are extremely open to listening to everyone else. Michael Bergmann, our director, in particular has always let me speak my mind in the rehearsal room (and, apparently, to interviewers), which isn't always how it is; sometimes there's more of a boundary between a dramaturg's notes and the actors, going through a director. I think the openness and respect in the room has been good for everyone. In any case, I'm perhaps singled out a bit much in the review, because I feel that everyone in the show has worked harder than me. Our actors, especially, are doing such an amazing job with material that is emotionally taxing.
Anyway, I plan to respond to Bruce DeMara's anti-dramaturg piece about the Fringe in more detail later (and write some of my own Fringe reviews!), but right now I just want to point out:
"The dramaturge, Ilana Lucas, did a great job of maintaining the essence of the play and also of researching post-traumatic stress disorder."
Dramaturgy, it appears, does not always equal turgid drama, sir. (And I don't even mind the extra "e" this time.)