As I leave rehearsal for I and You, Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s upcoming fall production, I find myself thinking “how can I possibly put into words what I have just experienced?’ Then it comes to me, just be honest. Honesty: a major theme that day in rehearsal. Director Sean Daniels and the cast worked tirelessly running the same scenes multiple times looking for honesty in their emotions, movements and even in the smallest moments of blocking.As I sat in my cranberry colored folding chair and observed the actors work through the text I wondered, ‘why did they just stop right there, they were doing so well?’ Then they would answer that question by finding a way to make the scene more honest by changing the use of a prop or the inflection in their tone, and show me that with more attention paid to honesty the scene improved from being done well to being great.
There were moments conveying feelings of frustration, pain, sorrow, sarcasm and straight up awkwardness and I felt every single one of them; ranging in intensity as the cast worked through the scenes.
It’s obvious to me now why The Lion did so well this summer and why, I am already convinced, I and You will do just as well this fall: the push towards honesty from Director Sean and the cast members who are tapping into what it takes to make this moving story relate to their audience.
All in all, my takeaway for my first Cohort response is, you honestly need to see this performance. #IandYou #honesty