I just had a reading for my new play Rabbit Island with Core Theatre Co. The Bruce Mitchell Room was packed to nearly overflowing. It was a good time all the way around I thought. Plenty of laughs until the warmth of the room took over. Still people seemed to hang in there.
Mike Birch gets extra kudos for soldiering through with his performance in spite of a hernia. I found out about it after the fact and called in a panic. He told me to relax because he can do most everything he has always done, he just has “a freakin’ intestine sticking out.” He was still hilarious. The part I wrote for him is rather loathsome but people still ate him up. Sickos.
Sarah Bass was awesome as the loopy, somewhat bipolar Barbara. It was really cool working with her because I last saw her 20 years ago. I remember her from playing really tough classical roles and it was so generous of her to jump into this part. Based on reactions, it’s the toughest one to figure out. There are some things I need to tinker with to make it clearer. The women in this play are complex in my mind and they go back and forth on things. The ambiguity caused problems for people watching the show. Sarah gave it so much commitment and I am really grateful for that.
Carrie Heitman was pretty glorious as Karen. She gave emotional levels and truth to some whacked out stuff. She lets herself go places few will trudge and you gotta respect that. She was really good at making this character who despises herself very likable.
I didn’t do myself any favors with the part I wrote for myself. The first break is 44 pages in and it’s only for a page or so. Reading with these 3 was a rip for me. They all were pushing me to step up my game, which is such a relief and welcome experience. The tricky thing with this set-up was that I didn’t put on my actor hat until the rehearsal prior to the performance. The playwright/director hat was on too long. I hate that for everyone else but they were a take-charge, hearty crew.