At Rehearsal of The Trap on 5/19/15 by Eliza Anna Falk
“I’ve written my plays, so as to make difficulties for the directors who stage them, not to make their lives easy. What I like best in the theatre are the rehearsals, when the director fights with everything and everyone -The drama of the battle over the shape of the performance”. -Tadeusz Rozewicz.
How well was the author aware of the degree of challenge, difficulty and pressure his innovative, open theater would bring into a rehearsal room!
What I am seeing is indeed a battle of the director and cast to achieve perfection in transitions, movements and performance, and a lot of very hard mental and physical work. What I see is the director trying to realize her vision as it unfolds, talking out her ideas as they ‘come’ to her and asking the cast to make changes. I see the actors seemingly tired of a number of new adjustments, yet despite the pressure, ready to state their point of view, offer advice and comment on safety.
“Most reviewers agree that Rozewicz’s plays are best appreciated when seen in performance rather than read, because of the reliance on visual imagery to convey meaning” (Halina Filipowicz). Rozewicz’s theatre does not have action, it presents situations and images instead, like in a collage, yet the meaning of his plays also lies in between those images, in things unsaid and unseen. That is why it is so important and so challenging for the director and the actors to re-create the images in such a way as to not to lose the hidden and unarticulated. The task is overwhelming and arduous.
The Trap is constructed as a sequence of tableaux. In the words of Daniel Gerould it “is a family photo album through which we can move backwards and forwards”. The process to create the ‘photos’ and smoothly transit between them presents all involved with an array of extremely demanding challenges. The set consists of a number of movable and multipurpose elements, which need to be precisely repositioned between scenes. Majority of actors are not only required to physically rearrange the set, but also, as the margin for a mistake is almost none, to master the transitions through numerous repetitions. To add to the challenge, group scenes performed in unison demand strict synchronization of movement, a process involving numerous trials/errors and adjustments.
It may well be that “For Rozewicz, the struggle between a play and its realization on stage is the crowning moment of the whole theatrical process” (Daniel Gerould), however I doubt that the same can be said for the Director and crew. Pasting together the “photo album” of the Trap, requires an enormous creative, technical and physical effort, as well as time, lack of which increases already growing pressure. Observing the wonderful cast and devoted crew’s hard work piecing the ‘collage’ together, repetition after repetition, adjustment after adjustment without seeing results would have been frustrating. However, as an observer, I see what they could not – the pieces of the almost finished product, gems of scenes, quality of which truly amazes me.
The seven days remaining to the preview are undoubtedly going to be extra taxing on the production team, yet the biggest battle seems to be over and the Trap brought to life with passion and force. Although sadly Tadeusz Rozewicz, one of the great writers of our time who passed away last year, will not be with us at the premiere, his genius, powerful spirit and legacy ‘trapped’ in The Trap will be present on stage ‘released’ by Hanna Bondarewska and her team for all of us to see and experience!
May 28 – June 21, 2015
May 26, 27 Previews at 8 pm
May 28 at 8 pm, Opening