We usually try to film the opening remarks from the first rehearsals of most of our productions, but, well, since Smart People started the day after our Spotlight Spectacular, it was a bit different than our typically well-attended presentations. On top of that, Amtrak was apparently having some electrical troubles, which temporarily stranded a few of our designers (imagine the morning that scenic designer Alexander Dodge had: "Congratulations, you're nominated for a Tony Award for A Gentleman's Guide To Murder! Also your train is delayed five hours! HOORAY!"). So while we could post the video here...I figured we'd be better off just telling you about it.
Like most first rehearsals, this one started off with brief introductions between the cast/creative team (whom you met just the other day right here on the blog) and the Huntington staff.
Managing Director Michael Maso, Costume Director Nancy Brennan, & Eunice Wong ("Ginny")
Artistic Director Peter DuBois then offered a few opening remarks to welcome everyone to the rehearsal process. Unfortunately, he left his voice in London. "At first I was like 'oh crap what does this mean I lost my voice on the first day of rehearsal,'" he said very, very, very softly. "But then I saw it as a metaphor, because really the next six weeks are about giving Lydia [Diamond] a voice." It was a pretty good recovery, if I do say so myself. Those of us who could hear him chuckled at this remark, then swiftly hushed ourselves and leaned in closer to make sure we could hear the rest of his remarks.
"I just want to thank Lydia for this beautiful play and I couldn’t be more excited about the company that we put together. I think that the design that [Set Designer] Alexander [Dodge] and [Lighting Designer] Paul [Gallo] and [Costume Designer Junghyun] Georgia [Lee] and I have been talking about is an incredibly exciting one. But most of all I think this play is like a ball of fire and I just can’t wait to set it to life. I think it’s electric, I think it’s exciting, I think it moves with rhythms that made me pumped to rehearse it and I’m so excited about our company because I think you guys are really freakin' fierce and I think you guys are going to bring something amazing to the material and I’m just like really excited to set the stage on fire. It’s a beautiful piece of writing and you’re a gorgeous company. So welcome and thank you all. It’s been an incredibly busy season but I couldn’t imagine completing it with a better piece of writing."
Then playwright Lydia R. Diamond chimed in with much more audible diction. "I just want to say thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It took me a long time to write this play that looks at race in this way — and then Obama got elected and that just messed me up entirely. [cue laughter]. But it was this place, which has become my artistic home, that helped me sort of give birth to this breach. And I am eternally grateful and love you all. Thank you." Short, sweet, and simple; there's a reason she's a writer.
With that, we took a quick break before diving in to the first read-thru of the script. I'd talk about that but, you know. Spoilers.
|Roderick Hill ("Brian"), Peter DuBois, & Lydia R. Diamond
||Lighting Designer Paul Gallo with Peter DuBois & Lydia R. Diamond
Smart People Set Model by Alexander Dodge