Although we've been rehearsing Finegan Kruckemeyer's At Sea, Staring Up now for three weeks, this past Thursday, 11/3, was the first time that Nick Duckworth, Elizabeth Floyd, Elizabeth Gillespie, Adrian Iglesias and Elizabeth Ung all shared the same space as we pieced together the first two acts. Witnessing them working together - some of them meeting for the first time - I saw the many small parts we had worked on individually come together to make a whole. It was a joy to discover that the process making of the show, in so many ways, mirrors its themes.
At Sea, Staring Up is a play about the surprising connections we make with those we do not expect to meet. Our characters - Caleb, Emma, Elise, Noah and Sylvia - all share a common sense of isolation, which leads them to collide in unexpected ways. While they are mostly separated by significant earthly distances, the actors are quite close in proximity on the stage. This intimacy creates a sense of what Rebecca Solnit refers to as "the faraway nearby." Our stage is a map these characters create together in which their stories are not separate paths, but one, connected by empathy and imagination. Using only five actors, four steamer trunks, and a handful of props, we are steadily charting our map.
This intimacy also influences the collaborative process. As the play's director, my greatest tools are my eyes and my ears. My duty is to create a space where the actors can play within an infinite number of choices, and together, finding the ones that best tell the show's story. Their intuition and invention is coming in full force. At this point in the process, it is common for me to see these actors take a suggestion I make and turn it into a moment that gives new dimensions to the characters and their world. When you join us for At Sea, Staring Up, you will be joining the final leg of a journey made by an ensemble bound by trust and love.