Yearning For O’Neill

We’re doing run throughs almost every day now and Monday we move into the Eugene O’Neill Theater for the start of technical rehearsals. These are to theater what camera blocking is to movies. The actors who’ve done this play before in DC and La Jolla–Don, Zach, Erik and Susan–all say tech rehearsals for this play are slow and complicated. I can only imagine. The set is almost a character is its own right. The lighting is intricate and, they say, very bright which means I’ll need thicker and somewhat darker makeup. There are many confusing entrances and exits with other actors coming and going in all directions, and props and sets flying like dancers. We will be moving step by step, methodically pacing it out so that, by next week’s end, we will know exactly where we must go so as to not get run over.

Yesterday’s run through went really well. For the first time, various people who are involved in the production were in the audience at this little rehearsal theatre and it gave us a boost of energy, especially since we got laughs I didn’t expect.

I am starting to see our writer/director, Moises Kaufman, as a master weaver. This is confirmed when I think back on his previous work–like “The Laramie Project.” He builds strands, sometimes from his head, sometimes from others, sometimes from real events, and weaves them together into an emotional fabric that isn’t evident at first but that creeps up on you, picks you up and carries you to a new place. None of the individual strands, by themselves, have singular resonance. It is their interrelationship, their juxtapositioning that carries the whallop. All this, I feel, will be particularly evident in this play and it bowls me over. I feel confident that people will leave this play feeling they have learned something, experienced something new. I am so happy to be one of the strands in the process.

During the press “reception” this afternoon, I was asked many times “what was it about my role that caused me to want to do this play?” The answer I have to give is that it wasn’t as much my role as it was the play as a whole…the unusual style and structure and within that, the blending of character styles. There is one character played by Erik Steele, for instance, that is like something out of Cirque de Soleil by way of Dickens. And alongside that is my more conventional, contemporary character.

It’s getting exciting. I am starting to yearn for our theatre, the Eugene O’Neill, where we will live for 5 months.

See you next time.

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  1. Good afternoon: I am David Binder’s Mom (Producer of 33 Variations). David has mentioned to me on numerous occasions how much he has enjoyed working with you.
    David sent me your blog and I am so delighted to read all of your wonderful experiences with the show. I am in the middle of reading your wonderful book
    “My Life So Far” which is so interesting and so informative!!

    I live in LA and anxiously look forward to our meeting on March 9th… good luck this week and enjoy your daughter. My daughter is expecting her second child any minute.

    Warmest wishes,

    Farla Binder
    Speaker, Author,Consultant

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