An interesting thing, this revisitng a play.
Some history: This will be the third time that I've directed volume of smoke, after a workshop two and a half years ago at the Kraine, and a production at the theater that commissioned the play, the Firehouse Theatre Project in Richmond, VA.
Theatre is a fluid, dynamic, living art, however. So everytime you do a play, you must have more (and different) things to give to it. Otherwise, the chances of creating boring, deadly theatre multiply. Also, I don't want the actors feeling like they are ventriloquizing other people's performances.
Luckily, since 66% of the cast is new, this provided us with an opportunity to cast quite different people. One major change has been making the character of the Reverend Wife, who is a kind of antagonist in the third part of the play, closer in age to the actress character, who is more of the protagonist, thus making them mirror images of each other.
And now... the strangest thing has happened this week. Due to scheduling, we can't get a full cast rehearsal in until the second week of rehearsal! This is quite odd. For those of you who've done plays, you know that the first rehearsal is full cast. It usually has the following component in some order or another:
(1) Discussion of the design of the play / presentation of images of either design or visual research
(2) Read through of script
(3) Sheepish and self-effacing introductions by everyone on the show
(4) Long, boring speech by the director outlining the approach to the play
But here, we'll have had a week of individual rehearsals with the six cast members first. On any other play, I'd think that was a disaster. Luckily, volume of smoke is largely monologues and largely direct address to the audience. This means that what we really have is more like that week of rehearsing with the music director to learn the score of the play, before you start attacking the staging. Odd. But not fatal. It's just forcing me to flex a different set of creative muscles this time around. Challenge can create growth, after all.
I think a year or so ago, I would've been in a big tantrum about all of this. Now, I just know it means I have to adjust and do the work necessary to make the good. I guess I'm growing up after all.