Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Coming Home

Tonight in the midst of Twelfth Night and all the other projects, I found myself going to Friends Like These rehearsal. As I sat in an office on the upper floor of a building just down the street from the Kodak theatre in Hollywood I had this overwhelming sensation that I was home. Not home as in that office, I've never been there before, home as in this play, this project, Friends Like These, it is comfortable yet never boring, cozy and intimate yet exciting and challenging all at the same time and I absolutely love it.

Sitting there watching this cast, a mix of original cast members and new ones, rehearse for the Hollywood Fringe Festival, it just felt right. This was were I was supposed to be. All of the stress, and the to do lists of the other projects fell away because I was home. One of the things I love about actually going "home" (I put it in quotes because I do truly consider Los Angeles to be my home, but the phrase "going home" refers to me actually leaving Los Angeles and going to Kansas City where my mom and stepdad live), one of things I love about "going home" is that everything else disappears, you can focus on the good things, relax, have fun and you know that nothing bad or horrible is going to happen while you are there. That's how this play makes me feel.

If you know Friends Like These you may think that's an odd thing to say about a play that deals with the events leading up to a school shooting (if you haven't seen the play, don't worry I didn't give anything away, we tell you that in the first 15 seconds of the show). While it may be an odd thing to say, it's the truth, with this show I am home. Everything else disappears for a while and I can just be there and enjoy it.

I realized tonight I've been actually working on this show for 11 months now. 11 months ago the two directors, Vance and Sean and I put together the casting notices and by the middle of July 2009 we had our first cast. By the time we go to New York Fringe in August, three of our original cast members, Ryan, Sarah and Alex will have been living with the characters of Brian, Nicole and Jesse for over a year.

It's a show I could quite possible run in my sleep, I know every song that plays, have many lines memorized and know the timing for all of the light cues by heart. It's also a show I don't get tired of watching. By my count, including rehearsals I've probably seen it in its entirety close to 50 times! I should be tired of it, I should be bringing a book to read in between cues, I should not be sitting captivated by the words and actions on the stage and yet every night I am. Even in rehearsal I have to remind myself to stay focused on the script as our new additions Matt and Jen are still needing some line help every once in a while, I find I am way to tied up in what is happening in front of me to turn the pages in my script and follow along. I want to know what happens, how it all works out.

The fact that I'm still, even after 50 runs, captivated by this play is a testament to the voices that Greg Crafts, the writer gave these characters and to the actors who lend their expressions, interpretations and actions to those words. This cast is a very different cast from the original cast, different in a good way though. The words and the actions are coming alive in slightly different versions and I love seeing the subtle differences and changes. And yet despite those differences I still find myself settling into a rehearsal knowing I'm home and even though I was only there in that world for three hours tonight, it was a time to be comfortable, let everything else go, relax, and enjoy being "home."

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