Day Two by Betti Keutgen Abbas
I was unable to make the meet and greet….a disappointment but one that could not have been helped. So my first exposure to the rehearsal for Informed Consent was this morning. And, I was blown away! I’ve followed this play since it was “workshopped” here last spring. The topics confronted are compelling and the writing is wonderful. I knew this was going to be special. But, what an amazing job has already been done in the casting. Wonderful actors who bring so much to this play.
I wondered what I would learn new this time (having been a part of the process last Fall with All Questions Answered and 39 Steps) but I have found as with so many things, the more you know the more you can learn.
First things first…..these actors are not from Rochester and they have to be able to find their way around our town. Rehearsal started a bit late today because of a breakdown in communication about who was picking up whom. Not enough to be thinking about how to bring your character to life…you have to learn about a new city and one without much in the way of mass transit for transportation help!
Sean Daniels continues to impress me as a director. He works with the actors not as a “puppet manager” but as a leader and co-creator. I’ll call it motivation…maybe there is another word…but it is all the background that goes into helping the actors create their role and the story that is being told. Sean is always helping the actors to help the audience stay connected and understand the story and where it is going. Right from the start he is helping the actors create a piece that will keep the audience engaged and understanding the direction and content of the play.
The research that has gone into creating this play is significant. From all the work that Deb Laufer has done to put the words on the page, to the research that the actors have done to understand the background of the story and the Native people in the work to the continuing discussions of how emotions play out. It was interesting to hear each actor mention something from their own life or something that they had read which would contribute to why and how they would address a topic.
And then there is the content of the play itself. I was only there to hear the rehearsal of a few pages and yet my notes include comments such as “If we can’t have our culture, what is the point?” “Every tribe has its own truth.” “There is commonality if they can find it.” “The ancestors come to you, you do not go to the ancestors.” So much to consider, think about, and hopefully discuss.
Thank you everyone for getting me out of the winter doldrums and into the amazing world of theatre.”