You have most probably seen – till now – at least dozens of stageplays in different theatres. Did you ever think of the way and the process that the play goes through from a bunch of papers to the stage? How do the written words shape themselves and become a play?
Actually the process is like taking simple everyday dough, giving it a shape of bread or cake and putting it in the oven for a certain time. Although the text is written by a playwriter everything else is being shaped and brought to the stage by the director. He or she) is the key factor. He chooses the actors, he guides them starting with their lines to their acting, creates the scenes, movements on the stage, design – together with a professional designer – the whole set, selects the clothing for the actors, makeup, music, lighting.
I was exposed to this unique and outstanding experience some four months ago when I decided that playwriting without taking an integral part in the process of bringing the play to the stage is not complete. It is a must.
In order to fulfill my wish I had to locate a director who was prepared to grant me the privilege to sit through the rehearsals from the first reading of the play to the premier. I had to promise him that I will not miss a rehearsal so that the cast will regard me as one of them and not an audience. I was fortunate to find such a director who gave me the insight in the play creation.
The rehearsals went on for three months, five hours a day. We sat together for hours discussing the parts and the meanings behind each one of them, the background of the character and what he (or she) brings with him to the stage. The playwriter can write that the play takes place in “a sitting room in an apartment in a modern building in London” but how does such an apartment look like? What kind of furniture? Color and material of upholstery? What kind of objects should be placed in the room and Where? Lighting fixtures? Everything on stage should be coordinated with the type of play and the characters to form a complete and true to the play or the audience will not “live” the play…
In “our ” play several of the actors had to sign as well as have a short fight. Vocal and boxing instructors were brought to the rehearsal. There was no way that the director would accept anything less than professional. One of the actors had to dye his hair because the director decided that the certain character must have red hair in order to create a certain image. A broom in one of the scenes looked too new so it was changed to a used one.
I was lucky enough to be given the right to express my points of points of views during rehearsals and I did comment, some of my comments were accepted. I was so much involved with the play that when – during a final dress rehearsal – one of the furniture could not be moved I lowered my head in embarrassment as if it was my own play.
It was a kind of experience that I believe everyone who wants to write a play should go through.