SUZANNE KEEFE: So THAT’S what happens at a read through.

I am not sure where my ideas about a production’s first rehearsal stem from. For some reason, I pictured actors stumbling through their scripts, mechanically and awkwardly making their way through words on a page. There would be plenty of pauses, breaks, questions, snafus. The production team would be chain drinking coffee. Maybe smoking cigarettes. Probably with their feet up on the table.

During the I and You read through today, my preconceptions were proven to be wholly inaccurate. I am tempted to say it was all business – but that would only capture the unexpected efficiency of the event. It went far beyond business. The actors had undoubtedly spent substantial time with the script. There was no stumbling; there was little awkwardness. The twenty-somethings Kayla Ferguson and Reggie White opened their scripts and instantly, and convincingly, became the high schoolers, Caroline and Anthony. The intimacy of the performance surprised me. The actors were animated, emotional and genuinely connected to each other. The production team followed along intently, marking their scripts, tracking the timing and refraining from a single comment. By the time it was over, clocked at 1:05:28, there was a collective exhale from everyone in the room. I felt spent.

It’s fair to say that I have already developed a real affection for I and You — the story, the dialogue, the characters, the professional collaborators who seem like a cohesive team, and the whole idea of bringing it all to the stage. I never imagined that the production would have so much life to it so early on in the process. I feel grateful that I had the chance to witness its first moments in Lowell.

-Suzanne Keefe, Cohort

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