From Laura Bess Jernigan, Director of Cymbeline:
Having a safe environment is possibly the most important thing in theatre creation. If it hadn’t been for the absolute safety I felt at Raleigh Little Theatre growing up I would not be the person I am today. That theatre made a place where I could come be the angst filled, shy, ridiculously quiet and overly earnest teen I was and not feel judged or out of place. That environment was a forge that fired relationships between the students there that have withstood time and distance. Bare was an offshoot of that family. It retained that safe environment and instilled something new – an energy and rebellious joy that could only have grown out of having a safe place to play and experiment.
It was very important to me in this show with such a small cast that this feeling of haven be maintained, continued, and built upon. I knew I would be asking these 9 beautiful people to do things that made them uncomfortable, maybe even scared. And sometimes I would be asking them to do it and they wouldn’t know why. I would never ask them to do such things without them being absolutely confident that I would be there to catch them; that I, and the 8 other actors in the show, would be their unjudging, unapologetic safety net.
So far in rehearsals I have seen them look directly into the eyes of their fellows and tell truths through both tears and laughter; unabashedly relinquishing emotion across open faces and upon weighted breath. I have seen them jump around like crazy people, gesticulating madly, and grabbing onto each other dearly. Last night was a fantastic example of this “Ok, go!” attitude. My gorgeous actors taking the things I throw at them and running with it, as I bark out “act out each word!” “Stay in your box!” and “You couldn’t save him!” I truly believe that the only real thing I did as a director to make this possible is to create with them this safe environment; this small corner of the world where for 3 hours a night, anything is possible.
It also helps that I had excellent teachers and directors who created this environment for me. I know what it feels like.
So, onto tonight’s rehearsal, where Imogen and Pisanio will be doing everything from jumping around, begging for death, to hatching wild plans. I can’t wait.
© 2013 Vibration. All Rights Reserved.