In the days before airplanes, steam engines, and nuclear power, it took months to cross the ocean. Anyone hoping to travel between the hemispheres knew they were in for a voyage that would take so long that they would hardly remember life on their former shore. Most people who made the trip would do it only once in their lives, so when they stepped off the boat in their new home, in a new world, they were transformed not only in space in time, but in mind and spirit as well. It was at this moment of disembarkation that their real journey began.
For the cast and crew of Leiris/Picasso, land is in sight. It's an exhilarating and terrifying thought that after eight months of writing, rehearsing, planning and building that we will soon set foot on a distant shore we've imagined but never truly known.
Although it's hard to bear, these feelings of insecurity, stress, and doubt are a very good thing. After last night's dress rehearsal, the cast was downtrodden. They dropped lines, forgot props, missed cues, and generally had a bad night (by their lofty standards). When I walked into the dressing room to give notes, everyone seemed ready for another beating. I told them right away how proud I was of all of them for making it this far and for committing themselves so completely to what is an incredibly ambitious project. Putting all the pieces of this play together is a massive undertaking, and while the designers and I have the advantage of sitting in the dark while mistakes are made, the cast must maintain character, voice and energy. All things considered, it was a remarkable success. That everyone sees the cracks shows me that we have a team of people so focused on quality, so married to every detail, that this play has not one or two parents, but more than three dozen. It takes a village to raise a child, and this play is no different.
So while the 18-hour days, the set backs, the terrible food, and the impending tidal wave of observers that (hopefully) will flood our theater this week all take their toll on the mind and spirit, I am almost comatose with anticipation for the next phase of our long, long journey. We have nearly arrived.