Bit sleepy this morning, chickens – but for a very good reason: theatre.
Last night, I had the pleasure of sitting in on the first read-through of Così, Alumnae Theatre’s spring production of the Louis Nowra play, held in the green room at PAL (Performing Arts Lodge) – space courtesy of set designer Ed Rosing, who is a resident there and is also the production’s lighting designer. (I seem to vaguely recall Ed saying last season that someone should slap him upside the head the next time he took on both set and lighting design duties, or something to that effect. Yet here we are.) 🙂
Set in 1971 in a Melbourne Australia mental hospital, Così is written from the point of view of Lewis, a recent university grad who’s taken a job at a the hospital. His mission: direct a group of patients in a play and bring them out of their respective shells. Taking the lead among the ragtag cast of patients is Roy, a patient with a dream: mounting a production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte.
Assembled around the table were director Jane Carnwath (who directed Hedda Gabler at Alum last season and who’s wanted to do Così for some time now), assistant director Seema Lakhani, stage manager (SM) Margot “Mom” Devlin, costume designer Margaret “The Costumator” Spence and set/lighting designer Ed “Eduardo” Rosing. Joining them at the table were the cast (no doubling up of roles in this production): Matt Brioux, Jamieson Child (You Are Here), PJ Hammond (The Queens), Christopher Kelk (Palace of the End), Ryan Kotack, Tina McCulloch (After Mrs. Rochester), Joanne Sarazen, Sean Speake, Laura Vincent (GuineaPigging, The Real Inspector Hound, Palace of the End), Mike Vitorovitch (GuineaPigging, You Are Here) and James Warner.
With such a large gang at the table, the rest of us production folk took a row of seats behind: ASM Pona Tran; producers Natalya Demberg, Ellen Green and Barbara Larose; props folks Naomi Priddle-Hunter and Jane Reynolds; sound operator Emily MacNaughton; go-to gal Razie Brownstone (who’ll be helping out on a number of fronts) and subject consultant Sara Goldvine. Joining the cast later in rehearsals will be fight director Paul Babiak, movement coach Jen Johnson and sound designer Rick Jones. And my gig is set painting; I’ll also be blogging here throughout the production as it progresses, as well as reblogging posts from the Alumnae blog.
Jane opened with a brief introduction to the play and its theme: following your dream – not matter how crazy it may seem. Margaret and Ed outlined the design vision for the production. I don’t want to give too much away, but the idea is that of organic evolution, blossoming from dark and drab into a colourful, festive delight for the senses. Before the cast even uttered a word of the script, I was hooked.
The read itself was an easy-going affair, the cast getting used to the words and each other – and the result was some big fun and laughs. The first read is always an exciting gathering, rife with creative energy and full of possibilities. It’s quite the buzz, really.
So mark your calendars, folks – Così runs April 13-28 on the Alumnae Theatre main stage.