“Having seen a number of slap-stick shows over the course of my life and enjoyed them and laughed out loud, I was really looking forward to watching the development of 39 Steps. And, so far, I must say, I have not been at all disappointed.
From the very beginning, the work that these artists do is substantial. Being in the audience, you can forget all the work that moved the words on the page to the stage.
This afternoon as I watched the development of a single scene….the sketch from All Your Questions Answered came to mind….you know the one where the relationship between the playwright and actors is shown as a tv cop drama? Where the playwright writhes in agony over how he is going to get the words from his head on to the page, and that then wonders if the actors are really going to “get” it so the audience understands…..etc.
As I watched these actors try first this expression and then that one….take this hat in this hand….and move it to that hand….and make a turn…to the right? No maybe to the left…all while beginning to commit the dialog to memory. Most of this is not actually in the script. Stage directions it seems are more suggestions….it is the actors and directors who muct make these directions do what is needed to make the play work.
Yikes….! This is much more like the creation of an animated feature than I ever imagined. The way every word or every line is said, the way every movement is made is nuanced and created…it doesn’t just happen. Even though it seems so natural when we are sitting in the audience and we see scenes that have become one seamless movement. Someone…(no, someones) as the play was in rehearsal made a choice, then a decision, and it was rehearsed again and again and a scene was created and carried on to create this special production…unique for this time.
Thanks to all who develop these works so we can laugh. And laugh. And laugh.” – Betti Abbas