Saturday, July 11, 2020

Savory Taṇhā in Performance (Saturday)

Cardinal Hotel, Winston-Salem
Room #207
Three performances of Savory Taṇhā, three very different performances. Or were they? All five performers brought their own unique interpretation to each character.

It was challenging deciding who would play which role on which night. I didn’t want anyone to have too many performances in a single evening, or too few. I also didn’t want any actor to be in any more than three scenes in a row. And that was more challenging than I thought.

Having made that work, the evening’s each had a different dynamic, depending on who played what. An audience member felt Thursday's show had a large number of empowered women characters, and on Thursday there were.

My wife noticed that Hillary and Zyrece were the center of several romantic entanglements on Friday, whereas tonight Brian and Zach were engaged in a few scenes with sexual overtones.

The legendary Harvey Pekar said, “Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” Folks in the post-show tonight were fond of those dramatic moments that come out of everyday experience, and how we captured those. More than one person has asked if any of these characters were meant to carry from one scene to the next, but if they did that was the actor’s work, and not mine.

The pitfalls of online performance have been bemoaned at length by others (and myself) so I was particularly gratified for the comments our production received in that regard. That folks were able to suspend their disbelief and we drawn into the possibility that our actors shared the same space. During our rehearsals we worked on creating similar backgrounds and lighting as best we could, and it paid off.

Finally, I remember a comment from Thursday night. One was pleased with the variety of ages, the span of generations represented. And that was intentional. Because the origin of these stories are very personal. Ten months of constant writing, digging up these deep parts of me, the thoughts that trouble me, and those that give me peace, represented in a spectrum of moments, moment which for three nights were played out in real time for a life audience.

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