Monday, January 30, 2006

A Rogue Weekend

Saturday and Sunday were Roguishly removed from politics. Saturday a group of folks from the Rogue Theatre “cleaned out the barn and put on a show…,” er, well actually we cleaned up a warehouse space and turned it into a rehearsal hall. The floor was swept, mats laid down and taped together on the cold cement and black drapes hung floor to ceiling along one wall.

The space, which is about the size of a small dirigible hanger, echoes terribly if something isn’t done to damp down the “liveliness.” Hence, the rugs and drapes. They're a help, but nothing can quiet the diesel railroad trains that roll by at regular intervals and hoot at a nearby railroad crossing.

Chairs and tables are moved in, a small fridge, a coffee maker, a costume gondola for the junk we drag in with us, and about twenty chairs. When we’re all moved in we have what Rogue people refer to as The Clubhouse. We’ll be there five days a week for the next seven weeks.

Sunday the cast gathered for a first reading of the show. As usual with the Rogue ensemble we began with a set of group exercises that are intended develop focus, concentration, and imagination. (I’ll touch on these in weeks to come.)

The play, which will open for two weeks on March 23rd, is “The Dead” by James Joyce. The stage adaptation of this Joyce short story was done by Cynthia Meier. The challenge for the 17 members of the ensemble is that they never leave the stage. They must keep in character even though some may have only a handful of lines (indeed they must find their character even though they have only that handful of lines) and do this while dancing, or pantomiming an entire holiday banquet.

The work will be exhausting but immensely satisfying. I’m pleased and excited to be part of the ensemble.

For a statement of what The Rogue Theatre is about read artistic director Joseph McGrath’s history of the theatre.

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