From HONEY BROWN EYES director, Jessica Lefkow

It’s great to see the blog back up and in these pages! I’ve missed reading what’s up while the screamers had their day over Sandra.

It’s been amazing – literally, amazing – to work on HONEY BROWN EYES with this cast and crew. What Stefanie Zadravec wrought on the page becomes so much more… shocking, more… illuminating than we had even imagined, going into this project. That Stefanie has been able to craft a tale out of these events which ultimately leaves an audience ready to engage, to think, to talk, to wonder seems all the more remarkable, given how deeply these characters walk into darkness over the two acts of the play.

As we delve into rehearsals, the play – with its unbelievable pace and spare structure – is giving all of us moments of humility and pause. The depicted encounters between soldiers and populace pass with a cruelty whose horror is matched only by its sophomoric banality. We in the rehearsal room are all affected, and quick hugs and a modest space for contemplation are shared as freely between us as are the silly banter and shop talk that are rehearsal norms the world over, (though we’ve plenty of the latter, too, thank heavens!)

To be sure that we would best serve the brutal nature of the conflict whose story we’re telling, Fight Director Paul Gallagher was brought in early on, to teach the ‘soldiers’ about their arms, and to stage the moments of body contact found in the script. Paul told us we’d find the rough stuff harder to dish out than to take. The sober mood even when the violence between characters onstage is ‘only’ verbal bears witness to this dismay as starkly as does the quiet in the rehearsal room after we’ve run our choreographed fights… Typical actors all, our passionate and committed cast is to a person ready to take a knock for their craft, but deeply concerned not to hurt his or her fellows while portraying resistance or attack. The contemplation of what it must be like to truly take arms against one’s neighbors is never far from our work.

In short, we’re all feeling immensely responsible for telling this hard, important story, and every day brings a fresh investment of thought, of work, of discovery to the task.

Can’t wait to get it out to Theater J audiences.