Now That Was Fun

When an opening works…
When you can hear a pin drop at key moments again and again…
When the precision you labored so hard to achieve finally seems effortless and the result is a tight, rapid-fire unfolding of story…
And yet what everyone will remember, more than anything else, are the silences…

The profound, tension-fraught moment of dreadful, beautiful quiet…

Who ever thought you’d remember crickets at Auschwitz? We found the theatrical equivalent of the wavy grass that grows over the mass graves in the monumental film SHOAH, by Claude Lanzmann. That’s how director Daniel DeRaey and sound designer Ryan Rummery scored Auschwitz; a low-level murmur of voices, crickets; the pouring of a granular substance; the cessation of voices; more crickets, utter dread; silence; and then the hard clang of a box car door.

Dan has spoken of creating a theatrical tone poem monument; he’s succeeded. Suffice to say, opening night was a glorious and profound and deeply satisfying experience. And the reception was filled with post-show relief and pride and bonhomie. We were thrilled to have the Australian Ambassador Dennis Richardson and his wife with us throughout, until well past Tom Keneally’s wonderfully witty and gracious reception talk. I loved that my girls were there throughout as well – Isabel and Sophie have come to know Tom and Judy Keneally as uncle and aunt and, much like everyone else who comes to meet Tom, they’ve grown rather accustomed to the bloke! We all love Tom.

We don’t really wait on the reviews. We know one or two are already going to be strong. Instead we move on with our chores. I take Isabel for her drivers license exam this morning. There’s a parent meeting for Sophie’s school tonight. We prepare for the arrival of Theodore Bikel tomorrow night as SHYLOCK rehearsals are soon to begin. And we look forward to a dinner for 24 Theater J patrons tomorrow night in honor of Tom Keneally at the private home of Ambassador Dennis Richardson. What a wonderful night that will be. And my wife Kate will be arriving back from 10 days in Baku and Tbilisi. She’s eager to come to the dinner and finally catch up with the show. Just like, we hope, thousands of other Washingtonians who will be keen to see Tom Keneally’s play and our wonderful, thought-provoking production.