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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!

IMG_0114What 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 FullSizeRenderprocess” (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 

TICKETS ONLINE

 

 

May 082015
 
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Early in Tadeusz Różewicz’s “The Trap”, young Franz, having suffered the berating of his father at the dinner table, scorns himself as a spoiled and ungrateful brat. His boorish father, who looms as a monster throughout Franz’s memories in the play, angrily reminded his children of the traps of his own hard life — long days of physical labor, hard beds, and little food. He has provided a better life for them, but keeps the family in a trap of his own devising with his heavy-handed dominance of the household.

IMG_0488Franz would escape that trap and establish himself as a man of the middle class, with a degree in law and a career in insurance. But in so doing, he wanders successively into new traps, with each escape being only the prelude to the next.

Many in the audience will be familiar with Franz’s trap of career and moderate success. He does not toil in the fields like his father, but sacrifices each day to an office and a stack of files. He freely gives up his freedom in order to achieve a higher standard of living, one which comes with its own fresh obligations.

After securing the suitable job, Franz must secure the suitable wife, but he finds himself baffled by her insistence on buying a suite of furniture he neither wants nor needs. Fiance Felice seeks these things to escape her own trap and to establish a household of her own, but her need to achieve status and worth in the eyes of society is just another snare to Franz. When she is forced to admit that she has not read a word of the Tolstoy novella Franz implored her to read, it becomes clear: She is seeking a husband, but his identity does not matter much.

The Artist’s predicament as represented in “The Trap” will be familiar to any of those among us who put aside artistic endeavors and dreams in order to “be realistic” and “grow up” — and who, having achieved financial stability at the cost of creative freedom, try to fill the void with objects designed to impress a society made up of others who have also opted for the comforts of the cage over the uncertainty of the Artist’s path.

COMING UP SOON: MAY 26 – JUNE 21, 2015  TICKETS ONLINE

Peter Orvetti