Casting Off

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Casting Off

First day of school. We’re all pretty nervous. But the four of us from Ferryhouse gather with our packed lunches, and march off together. It’s about a ten minute walk to the rehearsal hall. Past Shakespeare’s birthplace. It gives you inspiration and perspective. In my journal this morning I prayed:

Be with me today as I begin the process of this play. Help me remember the Holy Theatre I aim to create, and that resistance has no part in that. Help me to open myself to inspiration, to the offerings of the other women, to the work of Margaret Atwood and the story of Penelope and the Maids. Help me to remain grounded by process, while flowing with choice. Help me to offer myself in glory and in failure. Help me to play well.

And I will continue to ask for guidance and support from many sources. Your brain can get messed up working on something so far from your world of experience. But ultimately, I just want to make great theatre. Don’t we all. And that must be at the forefront of the reality.

The welcome speech from Josette Bushell-Mingo, our director, is fantastic. Free of ego, and full of excitement. Like a child. And the design presentation was awesome. I don’t want to give anything away, but there is void, and Hades, and water, and ropes, and buckets. Fantastic. 

We had a long lunch because four of the women from the Macbeth/Macbett cast, who are also in the P’piad are in the midst of understudy rehearsals. That means we won’t have a full company until Thursday. So we worked on music with Warren and Bruce after lunch. The music is all composed by Warren (last name to be learned) and is quite haunting, at least what we have looked at so far. 

And then the jet-lag hit. I expected it. But I felt quite beleaguered suddenly, and started to get a wretched headache. But the day ended shortly after that. Or at least the official part of the day.

Penny Downie, who is playing Penelope, is quite amazing. What an energy she has. She is so excited about this project, as are all the participants. She invited us to join her for a glass of bubbly down by the river, which we did. Wonderful. All these women involved in this very special project raising a glass to our good fortune and to the commencement of our work. It is already a true spirit of camaraderie and ensemble, and a very promising place to begin.

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