A huge leap ahead

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Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Peggy was in the building! Yup. More flowers were delivered to each of us from the diminutive woman with the soft curly head. (Many thanks!)  Ms. Atwood came backstage after the show. And she was pleased. She felt her words had deepened and strengthened in the time since she saw us in Stratford-upon-Avon. Gratifying news. The show has matured so much. Even last night we took a huge leap ahead into the beautiful space of the NAC Theatre. What a gorgeous venue to play. It allows the play to expand. And what a generous audience we had tonight. There was a real meeting between us and them, and ya gotta love that feeling.

It’s hard to describe how plays mature, but I have come to believe the maturing process has to be a part of new play development. So many new plays are given one kick at the can, and if they fail, or even if they succeed with reservation, they are relegated to the heap, never to be seen again. Even plays that are considerable hits can find it hugely difficult to achieve a second run. But I know now from experience here, and from working on The Danish Play by Sonja Mills over a five year period, that plays need to breathe. And if they are allowed to breathe with the original cast they can attain a profound resonance in those actors, in their relationships to the words and to each other, which is ultimately conveyed to the listener. Daniel Brooks said it some years ago in a keynote speech: good theatre needs TIME. 

Sermon over. 

It was one of those days that was hard to remember from start to finish: so much happened. We had a half-hour call to get into costumes for a media call. Pauline is still very ill, and had to go back to the hotel and rest.  After the shoot, we were out of costumes and into the theatre for Rae’s excellent notes. (The fabulous NAC crew picked up all the notes from yesterday, and the show went very smoothly in the technical department.) Then some quick rehearsal of bits on stage, a supper break, and our second preview. 

Along with Ms. Atwood, and an extremely attentive and effusive audience, were Antoni Cimolino and Marti Maraden from The Stratford Shakespearean Festival. It was great of them to make the journey up to Ottawa, and they seemed genuinely pleased to be there.  So the first trickle of exposure to the Canadian theatre community begins. A little nerve making. But also a great opportunity to bring home our fantastic adventure.

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