So now I’m going to summarize the last ¼ of rehearsals.
We presented the first rough draft of the ENTIRE SHOW to an invited audience at the Chain Theatre in Long Island City. We received a lot of great feedback. Here are the 2 questions we asked our audience.
1. What did you like?
2. What was unclear?
After that night, we had 2 weeks of rehearsals to work with our director Melinda Jean Ferraraccio. What surprised us was actually how much of the show already worked. We had assumed that the show would need major surgery (Move that scene there, cut that sequence, that dialogue doesn’t work, etc…), but it turns out it didn’t. So if the show was in good shape, what did we work on? This.
1. The use of the songs. Old time music is sung throughout the show, but at our Chain Theatre showing it often seemed to slow down the story. We worked on better integrating the songs so they pushed the story forward.
2. The details. We spent the majority of our time constructing the plot, script, and staging, and only had created the basic shape and feel of the characters. We were now able to focus on the details of each character, so they came across as real people.
3. The rhythm. When can the play so down so the audience can take a breathe? When does it need to speed up? How fast is too fast? How slow is too slow? Melinda’s outside eye was really helpful here, pushing us to go faster in some moments and slower in others. One day, Carrie and I went through the script and made notes just for the rhythms of each scene.
Theatre folks often talk about how crazy things get towards the end of the rehearsal process. They talk about how overworked everyone becomes and how the show comes together just before opening night. This has certainly been my experience for years and years. BUT with this show, I’ve realized that this doesn’t have to happen. By being extremely strict with our time, we were able to complete the show 2 weeks before our opening. And in those two weeks, “Petunia and Chicken” went from good to great.