Throwing ourselves in, heaving our selves out, remembering
Just finished our 1st week of rehearsal. The space we rehearse in is an empty restaurant across the street from the theater. It’s got wooden floors and wooden booths and it feels strangely like a ship. Every day starts with a warm-up- stretching with staccato exhalations- fire breaths, every inch of our bodies from the head down or from the feet up- waking up the outside and the inside, making sound, sometimes into each other’s backs, chests, heads, and ears, the floor, the world, sound from breathing out, sound from breathing in, reaching for impossible things. Blanka is right in the middle of it with us, rolling around in the shit, getting messy, taking and being taken.
A little background- it’s been 17 years since Blanka and I worked on a play together- Quartet, by Heiner Muller- Merteuil and Valmont from Les Liaisons Dangereux (Janis Dardaris and I), fighting for power, playing nasty games in and around a big, deep bathtub. The Wilma was still on Sansom St. and I was a little too young to fully understand that part.
A year before, in 1995, we did Road, by Jim Cartwright. A play, set in Lancashire, England, in the remains of a decrepit, forgotten neighborhood, full of desperate, brutal, funny, completely human characters trying to hang on to their humanity. It was presented as a kind of circus and I played Scullery, the drunken, homeless, clown who was the ringmaster, your tour guide through the streets and lives littered with blood, piss, shit, and broken glass.
For our inaugural Under the Whaleblog post, Whaleback actor Pearce Bunting shares a few pre-rehearsal thoughts.
Well, here we go.
I’ve never done a blog before and I’m not sure I want to. Something about the me that’s diving inside not wanting to inform the outside of what I’m up to…
That said, 4 days till I leave for Philly to begin rehearsals for Under The Whaleback and I’m in my man cave, my little subterranean deckie quarters, with the sound of the ocean playing on the computer, and surrounded by pictures, scripts, notes, dvd’s of Hull fishermen, cd’s of music to inspire me and a pocket digital recorder full of dialect sounds, (theh’s gorra be sumthin’ dodge-eh about thaht, an’t theh?). I’m wondering what my future deck mates are up to- are they huddled up in their own little holes like me, tired of all the reading and listening and watching and speaking and anticipating (don’t pronounce the “ing”), and ready to get to work? With some other human beings?
An essay by William Steinberger
The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, proclaims the Atlantic’s Hanna Rosin in her recent, controversial book. The Great Recession has intensified decades of change to the American workplace; almost 80% of the 8 million jobs lost belonged to men, owing to the evaporation of the manufacturing sector. In 2012 women surpassed men as the majority of the American workforce and now earn 42.2% of family income. They earn 60% of college degrees, too.
Women like Nora – single, urban twenty-somethings – earn more on average than their male counterparts, though as historian Stephanie Coontz notes, this trend evaporates when limiting this sample to those with equal education. And while women’s real wages have risen (as men’s stagnate or fall), they started from a drastically lower point. Of the overall economy, Coontz argues that “what we are seeing is a convergence in economic fortunes, not female ascendance,” disagreeing with Rosin’s assessment that “given the power of the forces pushing at the economy, this setup feels like the last gasp of a dying age rather than the permanent establishment.”
Leslye Headland is on a serious roll, generating buzz in theatre, film and TV. Assistance, slotted for TV adaptation at NBC, leaves audiences in stitches. The film adaptation of her critically-acclaimed play Bachelorette premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film, which Leslye directed, was hailed by the New York Times as “viciously funny satire…with the crackling intensity of machine-gun fire.” Bachelorette received wide release in September and is currently available to rent.
Like Assistance, Bachelorette belongs to Leslye’s Seven Deadly Sins series; the former treats greed, the latter gluttony. Both plays take an unflinching look at Millennials, treating Leslye’s generation with her signature snark. Bachelorette follows a trio of single women (played by Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan) as they grudgingly play bridesmaids to their overweight friend, Becky (Rebel Wilson). The women arrange an epic bacchanal for Becky’s bachelorette party, but queen bee Regan (Kirsten Dunst) can’t resist instructing the male stripper to call Becky by her high school nickname – Pigface. Old tensions flare, spurring a series of events that includes the ripping of Becky’s wedding dress.
Earlier this week, METRO published an article about our current production of Assistance by Leslye Headland. In the article, actor Kate Czajkowski describes her own experience working for a horrible boss in a knick-knack shop:
"He would berate those of us who worked there on a regular basis. Our paychecks were constantly bouncing and he was a total jerk to us, so it was pretty frequent that he would lose it on someone and they would walk out the door grabbing a couple things on their way. Most of us left that place with a really amazing sugar bowl."
Horrible bosses, or “Bosszillas,” have been a wellspring for comic fodder. Consider Meryl Streep’s vicious Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada or the more self-serving and wildly inappropriate David Brent, played by Ricky Gervais the UK television series The Office.
Whispers and rumors of real-life Bosszillas feed the gossip mill of corporate America, and for a ‘can-it-be-true?’ laugh, we wanted to share some of our favorite Bosszilla lore.