Tech weekend!

A whopper of an update!

Since I last checked in, we’ve moved into an intense regimen of runthroughs. It is amazing to see the show take shape! The arcs of each of the characters is so distinctive and fascinating. We are always looking for more opportunities to make anything more “contact-y.” Some memorable moments that have been spiced up by contact include: tending to our friend in the hospital, getting drunk that first night at her place, skinnydipping in the pool, and an elaborate pool boy/personal trainer faux-orgy.

We recently had a Friends of Vitalist event, where several stellar supporters of our company came out for some gnosh and great theatre. We previewed the first unit of Pool, to great success. Afterward, Liz, Robin, and Jackie Jutting led a talkback, wherein we got to hear the audience’s ideas for themes Vitalist can potentially explore in future productions. Among those mentioned were the narrative of the 21st century American male, political polarization, and giving a nod to the politics of non-US countries. All very interesting ideas.

This weekend, we are moving into tech, and by hook or by crook, our amazing tech team will make sure that the piece translates onto the new set in the new space. We anxiously await the return of Contact Coach Jeff Wallace; we’re dying to show him what we’ve accomplished!

Looking forward to seeing you at previews!

Moving right along…

After having spent the past several weeks linking our movement explorations to text and character, we are now coming into the home stretch. Jeff has left us to go teach abroad for a few weeks, and it’s up to us to find new ways to incoporate contact into our “movement explosions.”

Last night I stepped into the character of A (a first for me), and I really realized how distinct each of these characters’ personalities has become. Even though Ravenhill originally wrote pool (no water) as a long, stream of consciousness monologue, the way we’ve cut it and divvied up the lines leaves us with four distinct, beautiful characters whose construction by amazing actors (Antonio Brunetti, Todd Michael Kiech, Meghan Reardon, and Anne Sheridan Smith) I am privileged to witness, study, and do my very best to live up to. Until next time.

We also took the first few publicity shots at the top of last night’s rehearsal, so stay tuned for those, as well as some videos of movement we’ve been building over the past few weeks.


We’ve begun!

How far will you go?

That’s the question Mark Ravenhill’s pool (no water) asks of its audience, of itself. And that’s the question we the cast are asking ourselves after our first week of rehearsals! I’m Kathleen Donoghue, universal understudy and official blogger for our production, and I’ve been lucky in that our first weeks of rehearsal have been packed with lessons in a new movement vocabulary. Guided by the incredible Jeff Wallace, our little ensemble is slogging through a contact improv bootcamp. For those not in the know, contact improvisation is a relatively new dance form that is based around weight transfer and partner support. There is no choreography, no pre-planned movement combos, and most of the time, when you’ve got a partner flying at you, you only have a split second to decide how best to “offer them a shelf,” as we say. It’s been a journey so far, one of ensemble building and the pushing of physical limits. Our hope is to gain enough comfort in the form to marry it to text, and to channel all the joy and terror and frustration present in Ravenhill’s play into our movement.

As we’re exploring, it’s remarkable to find “tableaux” in our non-character movement work that seem tailor-made for specific moments in the text. It’s very exciting work! Looking forward to more!