Rumors Control, Week 1: Meet The Mongers

It wasn’t so long ago – honestly, I’m not sure two posts back is long enough to even qualify for “not so long ago” status – that I mentioned The Renaissance Guild‘s upcoming production of Rumors as an opportunity to support one of S.A.’s many great theatre companies.  As it turns out, it also meant an entirely new opportunity for me…

With Chadd directing, I knew I’d be involved with the production in some varying capacity.  One of my first jobs with PDP was as a production assistant, so I was already looking forward to going back behind the scenes.  But last week I found out that I’ll be a little more than a PA on Rumors – I’ll be one of the play’s two assistant directors, along with Angela Bennett (a TRG veteran who most recently directed one of the plays in their ActOne Series).

Admittedly, there’s a lot of nervous excitement about it.  By the time we close and strike, I’m fairly sure this will be the most involved I’ve ever been with any of our productions.  Three years ago I never imagined I’d end up with that kind of involvement or responsibility.  It’s one more new turn on the journey for me, and I hope you’ll follow along with me.

Which brings us to last week, and the first read-through with the cast of Rumors.  After two weeks of auditions and even more hours of discussion (there were no easy choices – we saw a lot of great readings in those two weeks), our production found a terrific cast, including a few actors I’ve worked with before and a few I’ll be working with for the first time:

  • Dru Barcus as Ken
  • Alexander Berkowitz as Cassie’s/Casey’s understudy
  • Barry Goettl as Ernie
  • Peter Guzman as Glenn
  • Danielle King as Claire
  • Charles Riley as Lenny
  • Denise Swain as Cookie
  • Stephen Weser as Officer Welch
  • Steve Wire as understudy for Ken, Lenny, Ernie, Glenn, and Officer Welch
  • Nikki Young as Chris
  • Louisette Zurita as Cassie

They were all great in their auditions, but this would be our first opportunity to see the play performed by the full cast, to see how their performances would capture the spirit of the source material.

It’s one thing to read a play and enjoy it as pure writing.  But plays are meant to be seen and heard.  There’s an energy to live performance that can’t be explained, an experience that can’t be duplicated.  And when you find the right cast for the right play, you have a chance at magic.

After our read-through, I think we have that chance.  Writing as a crew member, it was exciting to see how quickly and how well the actors found their characters; writing as a theatregoer, I was just having a great time watching them at work.  I can imagine what it’ll be like for audiences seeing the play in its finished form, with the set and costumes and sound and light and props all in place.

For me, that’ll be one of the crucial Next Steps, as Angela and I go through the script and track what we’ll need to bring it to life.  Meanwhile, rehearsals begin in earnest this week, with cast and crew working to further define and refine the characters and pacing.

I’ll continue to post updates as this process goes on, until Rumors opens at the Little Carver Civic Center on July 16.  Until then, I hope you enjoy this journey as much as I know I will.

Thanks as always for your support, and “be seeing you” at the Carver next month…

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