Tom in Tech

Now that technical rehearsal has started, I the author am suddenly and delightfully superfluous. The director Dan De Raey is now concerned with coordinating the actors’ performance with on-stage transitions, sound, costumery and lighting, all of them the task of professionals of the highest order, including Martha Mountain, Misha Kachman and Ryan Rummery, The lead actor, Paul Morella, has been on stage for nearly three days, and the other actors on and off according to scene. So far today it has taken nearly two hours to coordinate the elements and the transition for one short but crucial scene, perhaps the most crucial of all, in which Auschwitz is confronted.
Tomorrow is dress rehearsal, and we are a mere two days from the first preview.
The D.C. actor Ralph Cosham, a polished and familiar performer to D.C. audience, had a chat to me today about the impact the SS uniform has on him as someone who grew up in Britain. It has a strong impact on me too, although as close as I ever got to the European theatre in World War II was that my father campaigned with the Australians against the Afrika Corps in the early 1940s. Its impact on a Jewish audience, particularly those with Holocaust connections, will of course be redolent of horror, yet we’re asking our audience somehow to take a ride with a wearer of that uniform, Kurt Gerstein.
Well, we’re close to seeing if it was all worthwhile, but I do admire all the efforts of Ari and Hannah to turn me into a playwright, of Dan to turn my work into a play, and of the apparently good-humoured actors who have been enduring tech rehearsal for three days now. That’s because, as Dan likes to chide me, there are 41 scenes in the play. If they all occur briskly, I’m going to get a T-Shirt for him emblazoned with “Mr. Transition 2007”.