“It’s not just the mood, it’s practical, too, because you know we can’t make too much noise cause like, ah, Mom, but I bet somehow that’s going to make it better, the quietness of it, and I want it to be the best, you know, so that way if you don’t like it you don’t need to do it again because we got it right the first time.”
It was wonderful to spend time with the characters of Dark Matter last night (the above belongs to the character of Marie Clerk) for Reverie Productions’ 2011 Next Generation Playwriting Contest.
Directed by David Hilder, the cast featured DM vets Alisha Spielmann, Ryan Andes, Ken Glickfeld, and Antoinette Broderick; and some strong newcomers – Vandit Bhatt, Erika Rolfsrud, and Patrick McCarthy (not to mention one of my favorite playwrights in the world reading SD, Johnna Adams!)
Contrasting Susan Ferrara’s portrayal of Maxine with Erika’s was especially useful for me. Susan had a brisk precision that was fierce and fascinating; Erika had a comic vitality that made you understand why everyone in the play is so smitten by her. It’s great to see strong actors have such different reads of a role.
The feedback was also helpful – fellow playwright Fengar Gael seconded a suspicion about a moment late in the play that I will tweak. But despite some other interesting questions, I really think the play is ready to move into production. Any changes outside of a rehearsal process will now lead the play astray.
So…how to find that production?
A huge thank you to the folks at Reverie, whose production of Widows several years ago I so admired, and to David and the cast. As I was leaving, the Artistic Director Colin asked if the reading was useful to me. I said it was, but then added the somewhat embarrassing truth that I also just love spending time with these characters. It’s a painful joy, to spend a night with them, and then let them go.