Planting, Weaving, Building, Stitching, Simmering….

We’ve had a couple of good solid rehearsals this week.  On Monday night we reviewed and refined the endings of all three Acts.  On Tuesday we worked a large section of what is affectionately called the “String of Pearls,”  focusing on “Gently, Gently” through “The Woman of the Wisest Wit.”  We’ve sharpened the focus, we’ve made some new discoveries, and we’ve defined some hurdles which have yet to be cleared.

I’m a bit sad to say that these were the last of our smaller, more focused rehearsals.  I always enjoy having the time to pick the nits.  But we have to step back and work on the larger picture now. From here on out it will be run-throughs of the show: working on flow and rhythm, sharpening the many shifts and changes; and continuing to perfect each and every nuance as we go.  We’ll run-through the production on Thursday and Friday for the final times before moving into the theater; the cast will rehearse with the orchestra over the weekend; then we’ll move into the theater on Monday and work like mad until our first preview performance on Thursday.

While the cast is making this final push before tech week, the designers and technicians are also finalizing their work. Sets, lights, props, costumes….. the plans for all these design elements have been reviewed, critiqued, revised and are being readied to be put to the test.  These last few days before moving into the theater are always a scramble to make sure everyone in every aspect of the production is on the same page and ready to hit the ground running on Monday.  It’s collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving at full force.

It all goes back to that magical transformation from vision to reality.  I spoke of this early on, and I come back to this idea repeatedly.  I remain in awe of this creative process we have embraced.  Over a century ago Gilbert and Sullivan imagined words, music and scenarios which they eventually realized into the inaugural production of “Princess Ida.” Since then other people have re-imagined that vision in myriad different ways and made manifest their own unique interpretations of this production.  And we’re about to have done it yet again.  Months ago we studied the score and libretto and formulated vague visualizations of sets, costumes, lighting, choreography…..  We pondered those visions and we reinvented them over and over.  Slowly but surely we settled on one specific after another until every element came into focus.  Then we spent days and weeks and months on the process  of “making it so.”  And so it is about to be.

It’s a magical thing.  To visualize and to create.  To not merely push a vision forward, but to incorporate the inevitable variations which will alter its construction along the way.  What we get is rarely exactly what we bargained for.  But, I think, the true beauty lies in the surprising shifts which collaboration, happenstance and even calamity bring to the process —  and to the totally original end result.

Be brave enough to have a vision.  Be strong enough to put in the hard work it takes to make your vision a reality.  Be flexible and humble enough to embrace the variations to that vision which collaboration and sheer fate will inevitably bring.

We humans do it all the time.  Gardeners do it.  Weavers do it. Builders do it.  Tailors do it. Cooks do it…..  First we visualize something which doesn’t exist.  Then we take the resources we have at hand and we tear them apart, change their form, and put them back together again in a new and exciting way.  The patterns and the methods may be tried and true, but the result is always one-of-a-kind.  It happens every day all over the world.  And it’s magical every single time.

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