I had the pleasure of visiting The Shakespeare Forum in New York City over the weekend.
Tyler Moss (Artistic Director) and Sybille Bruun (Executive Director) were very gracious to allow me to sit in as they rehearsed their upcoming production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
It has been a while since I've been behind the scenes for a play. The process is entertaining in its own way.
It is fun to watch as the actors ran through scenes, Alex Fletcher (Stage Manager) and Calaine Schafer (Asst Stage Manager) would keep the actors on script, and occasionally fill in on stage (as Snug), while Tyler and Sybille would help shape the play with notes during and after the scenes.
But more often than not, Tyler and Sybille acted as an audience and laughed at the very funny and entertaining performances. They encouraged the actors to keep pushing for even more, and challenged them to take even more risks to discover as many funny moments in the play as possible.
Watching Tyler direct the actors -- sometimes jumping out of his chair to join them and talk through the moment -- was great, and he and Sybille have a wonderful rapport with the actors.
All of the actors were excellent. They all were eager and more than willing to find what works best at any given moment in the play. Rarely was a line delivered the same way, and there were so many hilarious bits of physical comedy. They happily kept pushing the envelope, over and over.
It was exciting for me to watch this process of discovery. I have to think that this was not unlike the process by which Shakespeare and his company of actors would bring his plays to life.
I am convinced that as much as Shakespeare wrote the plays, they were not truly finished until his actors would mine the play for even funnier bits -- whether it was adding/cutting a line, or adding a bit of slapstick physical comedy.
I am sure that no two performances of Midsummer, for example, by Shakespeare and his actors, was ever the same. And I am sure that there were those people in the audience who came back to see it again and again, to look for the differences.
For me, it was so much fun to watch such talented professionals at work that I stayed for the full four hours of the rehearsal!
And I would gladly do it again.
Do yourself a favor and see their fast-paced and funny production of A Midsummer Night's Dream which runs from December 5th through the 16th.
Please visit their website for more information, and to order your tickets -- and hurry before they sell out!
David B. Schajer
here are some photos of the rehearsal:
|left to right: Aaron Gaines,Whitney Egbert, Claire Warden, and Tyler Moss|
|l to r: Sybille Bruun, Brad Lewandowski, Sam Laakso, Edward Stanley, Aaron Gaines, Claire Warden (hidden) -- seated: R.J. Foster, R. Scott Williams, Lauren Sowa (hidden), Whitney Egbert and Kristina Mueller|
|l to r: Sam Laakso, Kristina Mueller, R. Scott Williams and Tyler Moss|
|l to r: Sam Laakso, Kristina Mueller and Brad Lewandowski|
|David Hywel Baynes and Tyler Moss|
|l to r: Calaine Schafer, Alex Fletcher and Tyler Moss|
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