by Kirby Lindsay
A few weeks before February 19th, opening night of Fool For Love at Stone Soup Theatre (4029 Stone Way N), Charlotte Tiencken, the Director, along with Assistant Director Josh Aaseng and Stage Manager Chris Scofield, helped the cast run lines – filling in when an actor forgot or scrambled the exact words. For their part, the cast of four – Annie Lareau, Anders Bolang, John Clark and Daniel Arreola - appeared wrung out, as though they’d gone to some big bash the night before and not stumbled home ‘til the wee hours of the morning.
Actually, they had reached the last half hour in their rehearsal of a play in which the author, Sam Shepard, directed, “This play is to be performed relentlessly and without a break.” Even after a relentless run-thru, Tiencken asked the actors to practice “all the fights,” – all three of them.
“We can only rehearse this for so long,” Tiencken admitted. The actors, and the director, all appreciate Shepard’s writing - an amazing storyteller who loads his stories with subtext and complex characters. As written, the play is almost choreographed. “I pay attention to the stage directions,” Tiencken insisted. For works by Shepard, as well as Samuel Beckett, the performers, “have to pay attention to the stage directions,” Bolang, who plays ‘Eddie,’ explained, “or the play dies.”
“This is a play of inches,” Tiencken joked after she directed one actor to shift six inches to the right during a speech. Performing in the Downstage space of Stone Soup, a truly small theater, creates a true intimacy among the actors – and with their audience. “We are very excited to do the play in this space,” Tiencken reported, “everybody will be in the motel room.”
Lareau, who plays ‘May,’ described performing in the small space as “an adjustment, a lot like camera acting.” Bolang admitted, “I like the immediacy of small space. In a bigger house it takes time to get to the audience.” In a large auditorium, actors must project emotion, and sound, and expect to wait for it to reach to the seats.
Tiencken has directed at Stone Soup twice before – for Road To Mecca by Athol Fugard and The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler – and spoke of her pleasure at being given the chance to do this particular play in this particular space. Tiencken hand selected her cast or, as she described it, “I coerced them into doing this. I needed actors I could trust.”
Lareau denied having needed any convincing, “This is a part I’ve wanted to do since college,” she admitted. This intensity and emotion of this play demands the actors work closely together, especially May and Eddie. Lareau knew Bolang from their previous work on My Antonia at Book-It Repertory Theatre. As she explained, beyond him, “there might have been another handful of actors I’d have done this with.”
“I think it has been a while since Fool For Love has been performed in Seattle,” Tiencken mused, and she fully expects the show – scheduled to run February 19 to March 14 - to sell out. To purchase tickets, contact Stone Soup on-line, at 206/633-1883, or go to Brown Paper Tickets. Or feel like a fool for missing it!
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.