A little over three weeks from opening, the cast was getting ready to rehearse Act 5, Scene 2, described by director Clare Ritter as "the big hoo-haw conclusion." As I arrived, the cast was "coming and going," to the Deane upon arrival, then to the Warehouse for "head shots" with Bruce Dart, then back to the Deane for rehearsal in the Coolidge Theatre. Here and there actors tried on a costume piece. I asked Clare about the time period "historically" for costumes and all, and she said something like, "Well, the audience will certainly know that the costumes are not current dress." And I'll add, audiences familiar with Shakespeare will know that this tale is being retold. And all will relax and sit back and have an enriching good time. It's not the SHREW you saw in Stratford. It's this one.
It has a cast of about 15, twice as many men as women [see earlier blog inquiring about where the men are—now we know where some of them are]. And it has some younger folk in the cast.. They arrived from HG high-school-age choir practice just as I was leaving. I know most of these people and have seen them in other shows, and it is always fun, and enriching and empowering, to see them do something quite different. And the Petruhcio/Katherine leads are played by real-life couple, Natalie and Titus. I saw Natalie to chat a bit as she was going home, and she spoke of Kate as witty and clever and her own person (which is how I saw her in this rehearsal, and wanted to confirm with the actress herself). Audiences will love this interaction I think, between this man and this woman, and will find it believable.
As all were through running this scene a couple times, Clare made a few director comments including how the feeling of "reacting and interacting" among all was developing so well. And then to the practical advice (requirement) about what shoes to wear: quiet soles and low heels because the loud sound of footsteps carries so clearly in that theatre! One guy asked if his red shoes would be okay; I didn't hear the answer.
Aside from the show itself, which promises to be delightful/engaging/inspiring, I came away feeling very happy about the relationships of the actors off stage. My experience is that HG people get along nicely, and that they often actually create new friendships. So, it's no surprise to me, but I just love what I saw when people were off-stage or leaving. I don't know how well they knew each other before SHREW, but I liked what I saw last night. I have felt that too.