Kelly Dumar talks about rehearsing The Cell (series B)
Written & Directed By Kelly DuMar
Pleasant Lawn Cemetery, A Throne Like BenchSeating for Two
TICK Teagan Rose
CORT Joe Orrigo
Our Journey to the Underworld
For the fourth time during a Playwrights Platform Festival I get to work with great actors to present a scene from my Away Message Series. Last year, Birds Egg, Blue drummed up TICK's birth at the annual festival, and Clay gave us TICK's first kiss at the Our Voices Festival. The year before, New Digs brought us to the cemetery so TICK and KIP could do their goodbye thing at Clay's grave. The Cell is set in the same cemetery, but another dimension.
When I first met Joe Orrigo to audition him for The Cell it was at a sunny outdoor patio table at Panera, and he told me exactly what a playwright wants to hear: Love the script. Even more encouraging, he connected with the mythological dimensions of the story and sparked my vision as director. By the time we were done reading the script aloud, I was - along with the rest of the diners - scared shitless. I drove home wondering if Joe Orrigo was really an actor or an ethereal visitor from another realm, and for a lot of reasons I hoped he would turn out to be a real actor, not the least of which was so that he'd show up for rehearsal when I cast him.
He did. It's been great working with Joe and Teagan whos so fresh and eager and talented. Joe's not afraid to try anything, and Teagan's not afraid to ask anything, so the three of us became collaborators in the truest sense of the word, inspiring and trusting each other's creative instincts.
During rehearsal I told them I wasn't convinced I had found the right ending. We agreed to trust the process to find it, and I almost blew it. Out of habit, I kept ending the play in the same old place. At the last rehearsal when I said "done", I realized Joe wasn't. We agreed to run it one more time and Joe was free to end it wherever he ended it. So, we got to the end, and CORT makes this seductive gesture, "Come". And TICK must. That's what I'm getting at: that as adolescents, certainly, but also as creative people, we're compelled to follow our curiosity to the Underworld, the shadow elements of our own psyches, and we have to figure out, as TICK will, how to dance new life out of dead hopes, dreams, and illusions-- without sacrificing our souls.
~ Kelly DuMar