This post is the second in a series of guest posts from our 2016 Stage Door Project students at Rochester’s own School of the Arts! In case you missed the Stage Door Project: To Kill a Mockingbird introductory post that explains the exciting details of this year’s Stage Door Project and what all the students involved in this partnership between SOTA and Geva are up to, you can read it along with the previous guest post from Tali Beckwith-Cohen (playing Scout in the SOTA production) here.

My name is William McDonough and I play Atticus in the Stage Door production of To Kill a Mockingbird. I am also the dramaturgy student for this project. Last week, the School of the Arts cast got to sit down for dinner with our Geva counterparts after watching a full run through of the Geva production of To Kill a Mockingbird in the rehearsal hall. Talking to the Geva actors has been one of the best parts of this entire experience of us!  It lets us pick up new insights from our counterparts.  This process also allows us share things we, ourselves, have discovered about the characters and, potentially, influence the way our counterparts play the character.  The cast of Geva’s show have helped us look at our characters in the context of the play as a whole and, more importantly, the world that all of these characters live in.  This is an extremely important skill of us to learn.  Being able to evaluate our characters motives and objectives through the play is a necessity in creating a truly powerful piece of artwork.

In more specific matters, our counterparts have helped us explore the best ways to deliver certain lines and intentions. But our counterparts have also been open to us sharing our ideas of how we do things with them. It’s pretty cool when I get to see one of my ideas being played out onstage!

William McDonough (Atticus in Stage Door production of To Kill a Mockingbird) shares character insights over dinner with Skip Greer, who plays Atticus in the Geva production

At School of the Arts, we have had weeks of our own rehearsals and have been working through the complexities of the play together.  Along with our own rehearsals, we have also attended a number of Geva’s rehearsals.  Not only do we get new ideas for the show and take down notes on new developments, but we also get to witness the professionalism and dedication of the Geva cast as they go about their work.  But even with that seriousness, they still find a way to have fun with their work!

While the dinner is just one example of the many opportunities we have had to collaborate with the Geva cast, it does best define the cooperation that has blossomed.  Talking to some of my fellow student-actors after the dinner, they all enthusiastically confirmed how much fun it was working with the Geva actors!

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