Thinking Inside the Box
As fall begins to settle in, I'm entering into tech for the show I'm assistant directing currently - The Container by Clare Bayley. This show is dynamic and compelling, telling the stories of immigrants going westward for new beginnings and opportunities, and the obstacles that they face on the way. And one of our main players has yet to enter the rehearsal process. That's right - we are performing this show inside of a shipping container which we will be receiving this weekend. This past Friday, our director, stage manager, sound designer, and myself went to the container yard and were able to test sound in the space, and learn more about the dynamics that the container will provide.
For the duration of the rehearsal process, we've been in a regular rehearsal space, working inside the taped out measurements of our space - 40'x8'. In this rectangle, we've provided the obstacles for the actors - benches scattered throughout where the audience will be seated, shoes at the bottom of the benches to give them ideas of how much space they actually have in the middle, flats on the side that is naturally "room" in order for them to begin to process and play with the enclosed environment. It's been a big creative challenge to prepare for the environment and create in a way that makes it all more real of an experience for all inside. The past few rehearsals we have been workshopping this 'realness' - continuing intensive accent work, incorporating lines in the different languages, trying out effects for vomit, techniques for staged violence in enclosed spaces, foley sounds for the actors to make in the space, and so on.
Our container with be delivered on Friday and put on the grounds of an art museum downtown, made to look like an exhibition piece. This show has been an incredible process to work on, and I cannot wait for what the tech process holds in store for us this weekend!