Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"The Skin of Our Teeth #9"

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? My day job shift change started this week and there hasn't been much drama (thank goodness) with the show, lately.
Rehearsals are going quite well, actually. My very smart cast is usually able to answer my most-used question: Why? Why do you do that? Why do you say that? Why did he write it that way? Usually, I don't care what the answer is, as long as they have one. And when I do want a particular answer, it's been relatively easy to guide them toward it. Of course when all else fails, I just have to come out and say what I want, though that seems to be a rarity, especially among the more experienced cast members. Tonight we ran act one with both of "The Extinct" puppet frames. The ensemble has to learn to get out of their way, but the "family" seems to be interacting with them quite well. One of the puppeteers still doesn't get it and often appears bored, but I hope that I can find a way to motivate him into being a living presence. Wow - how artsy-fartsy does that sound? But it's true.
I have found that two or three of my (relatively) older cast members are quite strange ducks, indeed. Two of them have begun to annoy me to no end, but they have minor roles and I only have to deal with them minimally, thank God.
And speaking of God - being a devout agnostic, I find myself having issues with the religious overtones of the play. The opening lines of Genesis are quoted no less than three times over the course of the play. And Mr. & Mrs. Antrobus are obviously Adam and Eve, while Henry is often referred to as "Cain" and Gladys appears to represent the Virgin Mary in Act III. How does a director who believes that "God" is unknowable, reconcile himself to obvious Christian metaphors? I suppose I must (as I have been) approach the issue as academic, rather than dogmatic. My core beliefs often coincide with traditional Christian mores, though being gay and considering myself rather modern and erudite, I am conflicted when it comes to the play's approach to religion. And many reports indicate that Wilder may have been a closeted homosexual, himself. How did he deal with these issues? He probably didn't, as a product of the early 20th Century, when such things were discussed in whispers and gays were forced to hide their proclivities from the rest of the world. Of course, there are no gay overtones in the piece, though I think I might be able to make a convincing argument for Henry being gay. I just have to find a way to convince the gorgeous actor playing Henry of that. He has played gay roles for me twice in the past (and is set to so again next summer), and while he insists he is straight, I have my doubts. Needless to say, while I will always try to find a way to promote LGBT rights and issues in everything I direct, this show may prove challenging to do so.
OK - time for bed. As always, more of this anon.

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