This Saturday we had our tech rehearsal for AUDIENCE in the bar space. Staging a play in the round is always challenging, and even more so when the space is unconventional, but watching the play from each corner of the bar, it’s clear that this is the perfect venue for this play.
The closest audience members will be only about a foot or so away from the actors, giving a sense of immediacy rarely present in a theatrical performance, while the select few people seated on the balcony (another good reason to reserve tickets early), have an incredible bird’s eye view of the action. In both cases, the sense of confinement in Havel’s writing is made viscerally present. Tanya Orellana’s set, comprised of a few mismatched crates, shelves and a rickety table does a wonderful job providing a sense of place that is both distinct from the bar and also merges seamlessly with it. Molly Stewart Cohn’s lighting plot (which we set at about midnight this week as the bar closed), gives a subtle chill to the otherwise warm atmosphere of the Cafe Royale. In performance, there is not so much a clear distinction between the actors and the audience. Instead, the world of the play blurs and dissolves into its surroundings.
Other highlights of the tech included Theater Pub co-founder Brian Markley and sound designer Alejandro Acosta finding an elegant solution to create the peeing noise offstage (note to our audience: go to the bathroom before the performance begins), and producer Meg O’Connor’s discovery of two amazing beer steins at a local hardware store. We still have another week or rehearsals for polishing, minor technical adjustments, and painting the set pieces before we open, but the skeleton we had on Saturday looks very promising. We hope you’ll be able to see the final product.
-Bennett Fisher and the team of AUDIENCE
AUDIENCE opens Tuesday April 13 in the Cafe Royale (800 Post Street, at Leavenworth). Performances are April 13, 19, and 20 and May 3, and 4. 8pm every night. Admission is free. You may reserve seats by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org