I would be exhausted if I kept up their pace. As I wrote before, there is so little time to pull this play together. Admittedly, Sean, Danny, Aysan, and Peter have workshopped the play in San Francisco and Abu Dabi, so everyone isn’t starting from scratch, but Peter took all those ideas and parts of the script and pulled together a real script to start here in Lowell – a mere 2.5 weeks before previews (which are real shows in front of real audiences). And there were breaks for Christmas (including cross country travel for Danny and Aysan) and some days off. So, they come to Lowell and get started.
My last visit came on New Year’s day. Well that night actually. Everyone had been working 11-11 on New Year’s Eve and started at 11 on New Year’s Day. When I got there in the evening they had just finished doing tech. This is a fascinating time when things really come together. The cast has been working in the rehearsal hall. Others have been working on sets, props, costume, etc. somewhere. During tech, they all meet in the theatre to pull all these pieces together.
So, that evening, the tech is “done” and they then did a run of the play. A few days earlier I saw them in the rehearsal hall still with scripts in hand or nearby. Now at the theatre, after so many hours, they did a run.
It’s amazing how few times Danny and Aysan call for a line. Clearly they are exhausted, but on they go.
And it looks good.
Oh, one thing I got to do that night was go down to the green room with Peter. Expectation: a comfy room painted in green with sofas, maybe a TV, food, drinks… Reality: let’s just say, not so glorious. But it was a delight to meander down under the stage.
My wife and I are season ticket holders for the Friday preview – the third night with an audience. One really great thing about this is if you’re a season ticket holder, MRT makes it real easy to change your tickets to another show if you can’t make it. Some years, that seems to be every show and some seasons maybe 1 or 2, but a great benefit.
For The Making of a Great Moment we came on our night – Friday preview. I really wondered what my wife would think. I really don’t tell her much when I visit as a cohort. I hoped she would laugh and enjoy it. She did! And I did too.
Danny and Aysan are very good actors. They are especially good with their facial expressions. I noticed this some during rehearsals, but they really had it during the show. Their faces told so much.
One thing I find hard to catch is what was taken out. One little detail – the oak branches were gone, but I had liked them so much during the tech run through. They were part of the “other” cast members who are seen on stage handling props, making things happen with the bikes, walking a stop sign as scenery. But not the oak branches. Too bad – it was a nice touch.
I have to say, I really enjoy and am honored to be a cohort, especially for this play where the creation of the play really unfolded in such a big way in these couple of weeks in Lowell. Peter, Sean, Danny, and Aysan are a very talented group. I was privileged to chat quite a bit with Peter – getting to know him a bit as a person, learning about the process and what a playwright’s life is like. He is one of but about a dozen playwrights in the U.S. who are funded by a grant to be resident playwrights. That is really cool.
-Geoff Bryant, Cohort
The Making of a Great Moment runs through January 29.