Test Flight walks a line. Like the Big Box series that came before it (I was in Big Box four times) this is a single weekend of workshop performances. What is a workshop, the layperson may ask? The script is complete, but unfinished, and this is an opportunity to gauge its progress in front of an audience. There are certain professional expectations, but it is not a full production.
There should be design, and the actors should be well-accustomed to the material, at least that material that has not been pitched at them at the last minute. I’m not adding anything to the script for The Witches at this point, but even today I have taken things away.
Thankfully, I am working with a team of incredible artists, some for the first time, several with whom I have collaborated with more than once, and are good friends.
|Adrionna Powell Lawrence as Keetchi|
Another former Great Lakes colleague and one who has been an invaluable collaborator on so many projects – including and especially during the shutdown – is Chennelle Bryant-Harris. She was due to direct this piece when it was originally scheduled for two years ago, and I was so grateful she was available to perform as dramaturge.
The acting company is a tinderbox of performers who I have either worked with (Adrionna Powell Lawrence, yet a fourth former actor-teacher) or whose work I have enjoyed and admired through the years, including Bryce Evan Lewis, Jaime Bouvier and Juliette Regnier.
Here’s one thing we will not have: video projection. Adri plays a social media star in the model of Liza Koshy (yeah, I know – I started writing this years ago) and so there are meant to be YouTube videos and TikToks. In lieu of actual technology, the team has created some moments that get the point across with clarity and humor.
What we will have are a lot of mannequins, costumes, and shadow performance. Rehearsal was extremely rewarding, with song and humor, frank conversations about tone and a lot of useful suggestions for editing and revision.
And tonight we begin putting the final pieces together in the Levin at Cleveland Public Theatre! I’m really looking forward to seeing this all come together, even more so to how the audience will react this weekend. Maybe we will see you there!