How do we build a future from a present we didn't expect?

Last night, I attended an "open rehearsal" for New Leaf's new show, The Long Count. It was great - just a handful of us, plus the cast and a few of the New Leaf artists. First off, the Curator of the event, Marsha Harmon, spoke a little about the process so far, how the company had been writing and collaborating for awhile, then they cast the piece, etc etc. She also went through the structure for the night - they were going to warm up a little with a Viewpoints exercise, then work on one piece from the show, take a break, work on another piece, then questions (if you had them), and then close out the rehearsal.
First off, Jessica Hutchinson led the cast in a quick Viewpoints exercise. Now, lots of people have opinions on Viewpoints - whether it actually helps or not, etc... In this case, however, I think it was an invaluable exercise. Mostly, because of the style of the piece they were doing - the show is completely dependent about group dynamics, with movement, etc. And it was wonderful to watch a group of performers come together an work so cohesively - it set a great stage for the rest of the rehearsal.

Jessica then led the cast through a particular scene that they needed to work on - they ran the scene once with lights and sound - then they talked as a team and discussed new ideas, and new methods to achieve the look and feel they were hoping for. Then they ran it again, with the new ideas in place, and every one ended it with a nod of the head indicating "yeah, that feels so much better...".... I found I was nodding along with them, as both an observer and a participant.

We took a break (when the stage manager Rebecca said "Let's say 11 minutes then", all the folks watching said "thank you 11"...brilliant...)

Then after the break, Kyra led them through another scene to be worked. Again - ran the scene once with lights and sound, then talked about ideas to tighten up, etc etc, then a couple of trial runs to see if the ideas worked, then running the scene again.

When it was done, Marsha invited all of us to come together in the center, we made a circle with our arms aournd each other, Marsha took a moment gave some words of thanks, then we all took a deep breath in together, and then let it out together, cast & audience TOGETHER. Wonderful.

(And then we went to Stanley's and drank beers. )

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