The Blinking Eye

Cutting Ball Open Rehearsal

Above:  From the 2011 production of Pelleas & Melisande.  Melisande (Caitlyn Louchard) lets her long hair fall out of the tower down to Pelleas (Joshua Schell).  Photo by Annie Paladino

Cutting Ball Theater opened a rehearsal to the public last week for its upcoming A Dreamplay by August Strindberg. I was fortunate enough to attend this event and be a fly on the wall in a miniature, but spellbound audience. Cutting Ball’s 2011 shimmering production of Pelleas and Melisande, also directed by Rob Melrose, made me fall in love with this tiny theater and its free-associative avant garde style. A Dreamplay unfolds in a similar vein where movements speak more than words, dream imagery prevails, and soulful acting anchors non sequiturs.

The cast and crew have been rehearsing only a couple weeks, and still “on book” (holding scripts). Paul Walsh, a lifelong Strindberg scholar and translator, along with the director, made their introductions. It was a rare opportunity to observe director, cast, and sound designer work their way through raw material in the early stages of development. We glimpsed the fine fabric of choices considered and made, such as: What motivates this stage crossing? Who holds the bucket?

We observed actors gradually engaging more deeply with their environment with poetic prompts by Melrose:  “Put your hand on the window when you look out it.”  “Hold the bucket lovingly and rock it in your arms back and forth.”  “Trace the clover design on the door before knocking on it.”  Thank you, Cutting Ball, for inviting us in! A Dreamplay runs May 20-June 19. Don’t miss it!