Ode to the Pouch

Last night was the first rehearsal for Tale of a West Texas Marsupial Girl, and I’m officially in love. In love with the process, the designs, the script, the music and the group dynamic. While it was a bit awkward being the new kid (in a group of about 20, only one other fellow and I hadn’t worked at CTC before) since I still have a ton of questions and don’t know anyone in the cast, I’m still certain this is going to be an incredible experience.

Some thoughts from my first day:

The Script Whit MacLaughlin, the director, described it as metaphysical – and after doing a group read-through, I’d have to say that I agree. This touching and clever story about a girl with a pouch and her struggle with self-realization transcends age, race, socio-economics, religion, and every other confine we place on ourselves in attempt at classification. And the kids will dig it.

The Set and Lighting Design The Set Designer presented on behalf of himself and the lighting designer, and the stage is going to look awesome – a patchwork of a town, it’ll be gritty and full of curiosities. I am always so impressed by a good designer’s ability to glean the feeling of a piece at its core, then translate that feeling to the physical realm.

The Costumes The drawings are gorgeous. And with the exception of one Dr. Pouch, the women’s costumes are by far more intricate (and, therefore, awesome). The best part is that my main character, Ina Shaw, has an apron with a big chicken on it that serves as the centerpiece of the designs for the rest of the townspeople. I’ll also be playing one of the witches in a traveling version of Macbeth, and the costume is very Renaissance-Festival-meets-Steve-Nicks; ultra-sexy save for the witch mask and the sandbag boobs.

The Music Gritty and organic – the percussion is provided solely by human beatbox, and therefore the sound is warm and full. It was wild to begin learning the songs last night without having heard them first and without sheet music. We all gathered around the composer, Sxip Shirey, working and re-working sections; it felt like we were a band creating songs together for the first time even though they were already written. The music felt like a living thing that will always evolve and can never be duplicated – approximated, but not duplicated.

Lessons learned from the first day of rehearsals: 1. Five hours is a long time to be mentally present without having brought a dinner or having eaten something before arriving; purchase lunch bags and sandwich makings. 2. Swearing like a sailor is probably not acceptable here; watch mouth. 3. Obtaining each day's rehearsal schedule the night before is not conducive to my often-particular need To Plan; lighten up.