And here we go again. This time, however, there’s half the rehearsal time, twice the number of plays, two directors, two playwrights, and a quarter of the pages to be memorized in comparison to Lend Me a Tenor. Bare Bodkin’s Play by Play is officially under way and I could not be more excited.
Obviously it’s hard to compare a full-fledged farce to smaller student-written pieces, but the cycle of rehearsals has started again. From the first read through to finally having the show blocked and even delving into costume design, the same steps are being taken even though these two theatrical pursuits are radically different. Play by Play, however, happens in rapid succession. After only three rehearsals, I’m bringing costumes in to try on and getting myself off book. It’s been fast, but it’s been wildly fun. Though most of the theatre at Tufts is student-run, this really feels like it’s totally in our control and the creative license has been incredible. Plus, we have the opportunity to bring student-written work to life for the first time and even though it’s a worldwide debut in Balch, it’s a worldwide debut nonetheless.
Having performed in quite a few new works festivals and participated in student-run workshops in high school, I have to say it’s one of my favorite things to do. Beyond introducing the world to new pieces, there are no rules. No one has played this part before you and you have the freedom to make artistic choices separate from any sort of prior influence. There’s no pressure to outdo the previous production of the play because there has never been one. Every aspect of the show is completely yours, along with your fellow cast members and production team. You’re creating something new and fresh. This isn’t a chance actors get very often and it’s always an extreme pleasure to be able to work in these circumstances.
As I traversed the country last week, destined for the high desert plains of Albuquerque, I carried both of my newly minted scripts in my backpack, along with some notes for a few papers and my trusty computer. No one in the airport knew what I was holding onto two brand spanking new plays with two characters that I get to call my own. I kept a creative secret stored away between the pages of sheet music, textbooks, and whatever else I managed to fit in my carry-on.
Now that I’m back from feasting endlessly during break, we launch ourselves into the third week of rehearsal, which for us happens to be tech week. Though it has been a whirlwind experience, I cannot wait to see and perform the premiere of these plays. It’s all quite riveting.
In case I’ve piqued your curious side, these theatrical mysteries will be revealed Friday December 6th in the Balch Arena Theatre at 8 pm.
Six original plays and one freshly baked pizza musical all during one fantastic evening. You know you want to.