“Geva Theatre. Show time. I feel the magic. House lights bright, I take my subscription seat, ready for transportations. The set shouts “LOOK at spectacular me! Look for my messages.” Soon darkness hides my present; I willingly suspend disbelief to become the proverbial little mouse in the corner, studying people’s transformations. Well, in this case, I will also be observing plant life.
Weeks before the Little Shop Of Horrors opens in January 2015, cast and crew, under the excellent direction of Sean Daniels, are creating a world of a talking plant, humorous deaths, and believable people making life-altering decisions And I and other cohorts have been invited to witness secrets of smoke and mirrors.
Fascinating truths behind props. Crashing pots require weights to prevent excessive bouncing, need dirt-colored something and shards that scatter. Quiet trash-can covers. The hobo’s gaping shoes are designed to stay-on with no laces. I wish I could enter the minds of those who handle interesting challenges: “We need an edible baseball-cap picture.”
For this science-fiction, horror comedy, ordinary dental tools need to include funny stuff . . . trowels, cooking tongs, and other clattery objects of torture. The dental chair needs to be reinforced to hold two leap-and-jump adults.
Audrey II, the starring plant, is a marionette, a hand puppet, a ‘body puppet,’ an aluminum frame, and a wow-wait-til-you-see-this Huge Horror. Her interactions require lots of skilled people. Props experts respond daily to just-identified needs: “Can we have a clean thick blanket we can use for rehearsals for when people die in the plant/on the ground.” “Can we have more of the larger gut pieces. We think they are all large chunks and covered with slime . . . .”
I am fascinated by the number of repetitions required for fine-tuning every move. I knew that a play involved re- and re- and rehearsals. I did not realize how many “let’s try that again” repetitions there could be. Did not understand the power of slight changes of angle, voice, and attitude to move the play from good to extraordinary.
I would not have guessed that I would enjoy staying for hours at a time. When we agreed to be cohorts, Sean asked us to attend at least twice a week for an hour. Little did I know that I would want to be at rehearsals as often and as long as possible. I could not have anticipated my laughter when I read daily rehearsal notes: “We walked through the plan for eating people with puppets.” What a fine way to end a day.” – Meredith Reiniger