Students investment is key
Micheline’s play, Your Wings Have Eyes, in rehearsal at both SUNY Brockport and University of West Florida. Brockport is rehearsing the play for production in early November and UWF will be producing the play at the end of the month.
About once a week I get a call from the faculty members that are directing the play to share a discovery or a question about the play that they’ve uncovered. I appreciate and love being part of the discussion and hearing about the progress of the show. I also follow that part of the discussion up with ‘let the playwright know about what you found.’ Usually they already have. Something I appreciate from the schools in the process is the willingness to let the writer and the play to have its process. They know that the play won’t be perfect they just want to process to be as complete for Micheline as possible.
With that they acknowledge the students’ investment in the play. Yesterday I had a conversation with Frank Kuhn, the director at SUNY Brockport, about a scene that is in discussion about a possible cut. He’s talked with Micheline about it. But what sparked the conversation with us is that he said she wants to see the scene before making a cut…and before I could interrupt to explain the value of the writer seeing something, he interrupted to say that he’s glad the entire scene will remain in tact for now because the student actors are doing extraordinary work. They are really invested, understanding the characters, and working off of each others. They’ve put in the rehearsal time on their own and are really popping. I worked with one of the actors two years ago when I was I directed at Brockport and I was thrilled to hear about his growth and investment.
Scott Hudson, UWF’s director, shared with me the excitement of the physical life of the play the students are bringing. The production has a chorus of “Hoodies” – without going into details explaining what I think the writer and each production are still exploring – it is similar to a Greek Chorus. Or Witnesses to the events of the stage. They have a very contemporary feeling. Hoodies, cell phones, and hip hop sound track. Above is the video choreographed by the students as they explore language of the Hoodie Chorus. It is so exciting to see what they are creating.
The process is always focused on the playwright learning about the play they are creating. However, the thrill and value is the investment to students bring to the process. That is where we all get to see the value of what is written and the potential of what can come out of the world of the play.
Grateful for all of their work.
Looking forward to heading the Rochester to see a reading of the play at GEVA Theater as part of their Festival of New Theater that will be performed by the SUNY Brockport cast.