From the Rehearsal Room

We’ve been in rehearsal now for just under a week – and as with the production of any play, we’re learning an incredible amount! Here’s a brief example. As I’ve mentioned, this production is directed by Robert O’Hara, who is both a director and a playwright.  When scripts are published, the text typically includes both the stage directions written by the playwright and notes from the production – in this case, likely the Broadway stage manager’s notes. So typically, artists approach these stage directions with skepticism – how much of what is written was actually intended by the playwright? Surely Lorraine Hansberry wasn’t this specific about direction and the exact location of the actors when she wrote the play – and even if she was, stages and set designs vary for each production.

So, how do we know what is intended? We go back to the dialogue. Robert has actually deleted many of the stage directions, and we let the dialogue dictate the action. In many productions of A Raisin in the Sun, Ruth spends a great deal of time ironing – she has taken laundry home from the white houses she works in, washed it at home, and irons it during many scenes in the play. Was this business, invented to keep the actress onstage, or is it driven by the dialogue? We can only know what the text teaches us.  Will you see Ruth, in the Geva production, continuously ironing clothes? Only time will tell…

Oh – and last night, after rehearsal, I caught The Good Wife on CBS – and wouldn’t you know it? Lynda Gravatt, who plays Mama in our production, was on the show!


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