The principal mistake that many productions make when using dialects is that dialect becomes an add-on, a superficial layering on character rather than the mode by which a character expresses themself. Just as our respective geographic origins affect the way that we interact with other people, a theatrical character’s cultural, regional, and class background greatly reflect how an individual articulates the value system comprised of those elements. In other words, our dialect in many ways articulates us whether we love that or reject it. So, in exploring dialect work for WASTWATER—set around Heathrow airport—my goal is to mine the dialect of the region for as many tools as possible to help our team unlock that us within the ensemble of characters of this piece.
Going into our first preview, I think we were all a little nervous about putting the show in front of an audience for the first time, especially with so many tech elements involved. And the first preview being completely sold out—mostly to a huge group of high school students, no less—added even more pressure. However, the audience was enthralled and delighted, and the responsive crowd brought the show to life in a whole new way. After curtain call, as the house lights came up, I overheard the teenagers in front of me chattering about how it was one of the weirdest and funniest things they had ever seen. And that audience was just the beginning of a hugely successful preview week. One patron on Goldstar said “This was a great show! The singers were exceptional and the music was rousing.”
In our final days in the rehearsal space, we had a sitzprobe and a designer run which were both exciting and crowded. Between the cast, the band, and the creative/production team, there are more than 35 people involved in bringing this show to life.
This week we began working with the two larger Audrey Two puppets and we were all surprised at how big they truly are. Sarah E. Ross (Puppet Designer and Producer Manager) had warned us that the largest was approximately 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide, but actually seeing a puppet that large come to life in person was both thrilling and intimidating (for comparison: Jim Henson’s Big Bird is 8 feet tall). There remain a handful of questions and concerns about how to best share the stage with the large puppets that won’t be able to be fully solved until we’re in the space. For now, it’s just exciting that they look so amazing and that Matthew Sitz is such a natural at operating them.
(Photo: Set model by Scenic Designer Grant Sabin) In this 4-part series, Assistant Director Elyse Dolan takes us behind the scenes of American Blues Theater’s production of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, directed by Jonathan Berry. Part 1: Welcome to the Little Shop After the exchanging of quick hugs and hellos,...