HELEN TUBRETT: Making the Play with Grit and Grace

As a member of the MRT Cohort Club, I’ve had the privilege of watching a number of rehearsals recently for Tinker to Evers to Chance. From my seat on the sofa sidelines, I have been witness to some of the process of professional theatre and it has astounded me! From the initial table read to last week’s sessions off-book, I have been amazed by the facility with which the actors, Emily Kitchens and James Craven, have become their characters – Lauren and RJ, or Johnny Evers and Mrs. Spoor, or Nessa and her grandmother Florence – under the truly considerate direction of Sean Daniels.

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Emily Kitchens and James Craven as Lauren and RJ. Photo by Meghan Moore.

In less than two weeks of rehearsal, I’ve watched Sean take Emily and James on a journey into their characters’ essence. It seems to be his process to get his actors to explore their characters’ back stories beyond what will be revealed to the audience through dialogue and staging. He asks questions of Emily and James about their characters’ emotions and motivations, and then gives them pause to consider their responses not only from what they imagine to be the perspective of their characters but from their personal experiences as well. It is an exchange of creative endeavor that, with credit to Johnny Evers, is both gritty and graceful.

From director to actor to actor, Tinker to Evers to Chance is being brought to a winning end not by a series of double plays but by a series of questions and answers that seeks to enhance our understanding of human nature. When Sean asks Emily and James, “What would you do for real?” he focuses their attention, and ours, on who their characters really are. The result is a drama that moves us all to contemplate grief and hope and what it means to persevere in the face of great loss. Even if you are not a fan of baseball, you will want to take yourself out to this ball game. First pitch is February 10!

-Helen Tubrett, Cohort

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Tinker to Evers to Chance opens February 10.

 

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