NICOLE FONTAINE: Rehearsal in a different language

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Kayla Ferguson and Reggie D. White. Photo by Meghan Moore.

As I complete my second week of observing rehearsals for I And You, the fall production for Merrimack Repertory Theatre, I find myself noticing that the play is being rehearsed in two different languages. The dialogue, which is in English, and the movement which is being expressed with body language.

This past week, as the scenes progressed so did the body language defining the two characters. The individual stories of the characters, Caroline and Anthony, are becoming clearer with each piece of premeditated movement.

I have been able to watch each character grow into full form and now see with each mannerism and motion their full personality and how the physicality of each character provides a narrative for their back story; building onto the the play as a whole.

As both characters develop so does the relationship between them. The actors maneuver their way through the rehearsal space in a way that genuinely depicts the different emotions their friendship experiences.

Through their body language Caroline and Anthony convey the beautiful awkwardness that teenagers possess, the language they hold in their bodies because they don’t know how to articulate the multitude of emotions they are feeling amongst the swirling hormones.

Then there are the staccato like gestures that builds a tension I can feel from my folding chair in the stage left corner of the room. They lead me, instinctively, to feel like I am witnessing a real argument that requires me to have to break down the fourth wall and say, ‘hey guys calm down, it’s okay.’

And even freeing moments of joyous uncoordinated dancing exist; which is actually quite rehearsed and quite impressively coordinated.

The layers of language that emerge as the show evolves are enveloping. I look forward to opening night when we are all able to witness the final product. #IAndYou #October7

– Nicole Fontaine, Cohort

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