Rehearsals are well underway for Salt-Water Moon, the 10th apprentice company capstone production in Lanesboro, MN. In this edition of Drama Unfolds, apprentice company member and production director Amanda Pyfferoen describes the rehearsal process from her early imaginings right up to opening night.
As apprentices at the Commonweal, we are given the rare opportunity to select our capstone production. This gives us the ability to look at the whole gamut of two-handers, and quite frankly that was a bit daunting. When we first began searching for scripts we brought passion projects to the table. For me, that was David Mamet’s Oleanna and while Megan and Patrick read it in phenomenal fashion, it was not the right fit for us. We realized that we needed a story that was relatable, had a strong message, and was going to challenge all of us. Suggestions came pouring in from company members and friends such as Talley’s Folly, Same Time, Next Year, Great Falls, Blackbird, and Salt-Water Moon.
For me, I know I like a script when I can visualize it in my mind and see it from the beginning of rehearsals, through the technical rehearsals, to the end of the preview rehearsal process and all the way to opening night. That was the case within the first few pages of my reading Salt-Water Moon; even on the Commonweal’s stage to boot. This play is about love and family and how the duty to both of them is interconnected and impacts every aspect of who we are. There’s a ‘slice of life’ aspect to this play; audience members are bound to find Jacob and Mary relatable. I’m actually reminded of my maternal grandparents. My grandmother was engaged to another man when she met my grandfather. Grandpa returned home from being stationed in France and they met at a party, not long later she broke off her engagement and married my grandfather instead. It’s not exactly a direct a correlation to Jacob and Mary’s love triangle, but it gives the story a personal touch for me. The playwright, David French, has written a beautiful script where the words practically come flying off the page. The passion is in everything they say.
We’ve been in rehearsals for a few weeks now and I am extremely pleased with how it’s taking shape. The relationship between Jacob and Mary is strong, rooted in the past that plays into the present and, ultimately, their potential future. Trust has been a pivotal component of this process and one I believe has assisted us in reaching the raw, truthfulness coming across onstage. At the end of our rehearsals, we do a grounding question, a get-to-know-you question that has nothing to do with our production, as a way to become a cohesive and closer ensemble. These questions have run from places we want to visit to which member of the Beatles we think we are. I believe it’s been a good exercise and one I hope to continue as I move forward in my directing career. Opening night is just around the corner so forgive me as I scamper off to rehearsal.
I’m looking forward to sharing this story with our Commonweal family here in Lanesboro MN.