A daily rehearsal blog from actor Paul Stetler, playing Edgar in The Lady from Dubuque.
A fairly easy day today. I had a costume fitting with Beth which went well. She and David have decided to set the play within the time that it was written, 1979. There was some talk about updating it to today but there are certain references in the script (Nixon, the cold war) that are specific to that era. That said, Beth is taking pains not to let the costumes overwhelm the play. The late '70s and early '80s had some wild clothing styles and I agree with her that it would be a disservice to this play if the audience is presented with a wild array of bell-bottoms, platform shoes and paisley shirts. With Edgar, we looked at wool slacks, a turtleneck shirt and tweed sport coat. Looked pretty cool.
Rehearsal-wise, David met with each cast member separately to discuss the play and develop a shared approach as to how we want to portray our characters. It was also a chance to get to know David a little bit, both as a director and as a person, and get a sense of how he likes to work. I’ve heard wonderful things about his directing style…how well he communicates with actors…and if today is any indication, I feel truly fortunate for the opportunity to work with him.
One of the challenges in this play is that Albee only gives so much information as to who these people are in relation to one another. We know Jo and Lucinda went to college together. We know Edgar and Lucinda only live a few blocks away. We know Fred has been married three times and that this group has been getting together to socialize for many years. What we don’t know is how the couples met each other, how long each has been married, what they do for a living, what part of the country they live in, or why there is such tension between Jo and Lucinda (and Sam and Edgar). And these are important facets for us as actors to agree upon and build into our shared histories if we are to come across naturally. So, today was a chance for David to see what we have been thinking, individually, about these matters and tomorrow we’ll meet again as a group and try to nail down a specific history (or histories) that we can all use in our preparation.
After rehearsal, some of the Board members (as well as some donors) threw a little wine and cheese reception for us in the green room. A very nice way of saying “welcome aboard”. It’s great to be back at the Rep.