news, updates, and conversations from Volcano Theatre

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A Beautiful View Rehearsal Journal

An update from the rehearsal studio, by Assistant Director Clare Preuss...

The joys of remounting a great play with wonderful artists are in effect as Volcano prepares to bring Daniel MacIvor's insightful and touching play, A Beautiful View, to the Factory Studio theatre. In the fall of 2012, director Ross Manson, actors Amy Rutherford and Becky Johnson, and I (as assistant director) gathered at the Goethe Institute in Toronto to rehearse this production, which was a part of BeMe Theatre's season in Munich, Germany.

We worked at break neck speed that first time around as we had a short rehearsal period in Toronto and then flew to Munich for tech rehearsal and performance. From the start, we were enthusiastic about Ross' physical, simple, esoteric directorial vision for the piece and dove in with vigour. Our time in Toronto allowed us to set the bones of the production and when we arrived in Munich, we had the opportunity to work with the delightful BeMe team.

Our time in Munich was also filled with great bonding experiences! We happened to be rehearsing during Oktoberfest, which meant the city was enveloped by a communal sense of jovial theatricality as streets were filled with citizens clad in lederhosen and dirndls (traditional Oktoberfest costume) and the city was overflowing with traditional Bavarian music, beer, and sausages. Also, BeMe lent us bikes for our time there, which meant beautiful commutes to and from rehearsal on Munich's many gorgeous bike paths.

All this to say that, after our time in Munich, Ross, Amy, Becky, and I were bonded in a way that I have only experienced in this kind of international theatre creation environment. Now, we come to this Volcano remount of A Beautiful View filled with our communal Munich experience.

A Beautiful View centres on two women who share a deep, undefinable, long-term connection. As we gather to remount this show, Amy and Becky's BeMe experience has given them a deeper connection to the text and to each other as people - this dynamic is incredibly useful for Daniel's piece about truly complex and beautiful friendship and love. Plus, Ross and I have also been jamming on projects ever since our first collaboration on this piece in 2012, and we have a grounded understanding of each other as artists. It is such a pleasure to continue to work with Ross and get to know him more as a director. His thoughtful, playful, irreverent approach is just what Canadian theatre needs, and I feel honoured that he trusts my opinion as his assistant as we remount this gem of a play.

It is also a pleasure to have AJ Laflamme on board as our Stage Manager. She is great at her job and has been so detailed in her study of the original production that she knows the piece inside and out, and is able to be of great help as we continue to deepen the work during this remount while maintaining key choices made during the first production in Munich.

This past week, all artists in the room found ways to get more in-depth with choices, to expand the piece physically, and to continue to excavate the richness embedded in this truth-filled play.

I'm particularly excited by Ross' continual encouragement for us all to delve into the nuances of the play with courage to make new choices or allow previous choices to become fresh again by posing new questions and applying our current understanding of each other and the play to this innovative production.

I continue to find more reasons to love A Beautiful View. Daniel has been one of my favourite playwrights for a long time and I find the honest humanity in the piece powerfully reassuring. Our team continues to find dynamic ways of expressing his words with imagination and clarity. Now, today, we all have a day "off" and tomorrow, we will dive into tech rehearsal in preparation for our opening this Thursday!

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