Friday, September 21, 2012

Rehearsing the Revolution

Here's a report from rehearsals of Paris Commune by Adam Odsess-Rubin! The show opened last night at ArtsEmerson - many congrats to all of the cast & crew! Grab a ticket to see the show in Boston HERE!

We are just days away from the beginning of tech here in Boston, as the room focuses in on Nina Hellman as she begins a rousing rendition of ‘The Internationale.’ As Hellman’s voice trembles with empowered indignation, the rest of the cast slowly joins in the final chorus.  With the end of the song, the rehearsal studio breaks into chaos as the actors/ communards prepare to defend the utopian socialist society they created, a new society that is tragically set up for defeat.

Nina Hellman
Late night rehearsals this past week have seen many laughs and frustrations, tensions and giggles, but what stays consistent is a unified drive to create a piece of art we can all be proud of come opening night.  As Assistant Director, I have the unique opportunity to sit back and observe the masterful focus this cast and crew puts into their work, and the rapid progress that comes of it.  Sam Breslin Wright infuses intense humor and passion into his performance of Pere Duchesne, the fictitious joker that provides commentary on the action, Jeanine Serralles glows with the light of the revolutionary as Louise Michel, the ‘red virgin of Montmarte,’ and Daniel Jenkins gives goosebumps as a poor incensed baker who joins the Commune.  The entire cast and crew turn history into a living, breathing experience from the first moments of rebellion, to the infamous ‘Bloody Week.’ With a healthy dose of tragedy and comedy, we are thrilled to bring this show to the public.

The show is certainly complex: Stage Manager Terri Kohler and ASM Lily Perlmutter as well as Director Steve Cosson have their hands full.  On the tables down in front of the stage, one might find hundreds of pages of blocking notes, floor plans, piles of gaffe tape, floor plans, aspirin, and sometimes grapes!  The crew is small, but dedicated.  Coming early and staying late, they work to support the actors and keep rehearsals running smoothly.  While Steve gives notes to an actor, stage management might be running around swiftly transforming the stage from one scene to another, while still composer Michael Friedman is in a corner with pianist Jonathan Mastro discussing ‘Yodeling Ducks,’ a song adapted from a 19th Century French tune to tell the story of a lonely duck who finds the virtue of socialist solidarity.    

Laughing over drinks at the Intermission Tavern after a late rehearsal, becoming short of breath as Aysan Celik (Seamstress) beautifully sings ‘Mon Homme,’ marveling at the majesty of Arts Emerson’s newly renovated Paramount Theater- these are the experiences that make up our time leading up to the world premiere of Paris Commune in Boston.  As earnest and wild as the commune itself, it will surely be an experience we will all never forget.  

Here are some photos from tech rehearsal generously shared with us by Sam Breslin Wright!

Nina Hellman and Jeanine Serralles - scandalous pose! 
Charlotte Dobbs as The Soprano
Aysan Celik and Daniel Jenkins working on "Yodeling Ducks"
Nina Hellman, Aysan Celik, Daniel Jenkins, and Kate Buddeke working with Director Steve Cosson

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