“My favorite part? Watching Laufer’s face as she watched the actors.”

My Favorite Part By Tate DeCaro

My first toe-dip into the Cohort Club was magical. Yes, magical. Maybe hard to believe when you learn that all I did was sit in a fairly non-descript room in a top floor at Geva Theatre Center and watch actors, sitting in the round, read through a play for the first time. But while this was only their first of many, many runs through of Informed Consent by Deborah Laufer, the emotions were already clear and raw and palpable.

Some actors openly cried during their lines, already fully immersed in their characters, the narrative, and Laufer’s beautiful, poignant writing. Others hammed it up for the on-looking cohorts, connecting directly with individual people as they would with an audience. Still others seemed to be feeling out their parts, testing the waters with their words, experimenting with tone and energy, not yet ready to commit to particular temperaments for particular characters. All of them, though, creating something new in their own ways and in their own time. Getting down in the muck with that text. Allowing the feeling of it to wash over them, maybe for the first time or maybe for the hundredth (I assume the actors have had the script for some time).

And all that was magical, and fascinating to observe and to get to be included in.

But my favorite part? Watching Laufer’s face as she watched the actors. Watching her as she watched her own words come alive. The tickled smiles and laughs, the empathetic worry expressed in her eyebrows, the excitement and awe in her eyes… Like she’d never heard the play before. Like she hadn’t spent months or even years laboring over its writing and re-writing, with every line memorized, every comma considered, every pause pregnant with a million sleepless, questioning moments… Like it was all brand new because of the voices now bringing it to life. I loved the wonder and joy in her face! And if an author can still be surprised by her own text, I’m certain that bodes well for an audience being surprised by it.

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