The Dionysian is producing Steve McMahon's sad indie love song at Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill on December 1st and 2nd. We spoke to cast members Shawna Wigney and Natalie Donahue about the show.
What was the rehearsal process like?
Shawna: The whole process has been so much fun. Since the play is so enigmatic and obscure, there was a lot for us to all explore and discover collectively as we moved forward. The first thing that we did after the first table read was sit and discuss what the heck the play was about. We had to find a way to make things make sense for the arc our characters, and I think it made it easy for each us to individually have our own “secrets.” Though it could be quite a maze at times it gave us all so much to play with. The fact that each scene really had no specific time or space gave us such a blank and unrestricted playing field. Ben (Viertel) was so open and flexible with us, and honored any personal choices we made as actors. It is the utmost pleasure for rehearsal to be a collaborative process with other talented people that you trust, and this was definitely that. The combo of having a really beautifully unique play, an innovative director, and other dynamic actors to work off of made every up and down worthwhile.
Natalie: Very exploratory. This is the kind of play that you can do a million different ways. There are so many questions with so many possible answers, so we had to decide how we wanted to present it all to the audience.
What's your favorite moment in the show?
Natalie: Probably the “dance” (as we refer to it) to “Love More”. It’s a very dramatic shift at that point in the show and I always tend to feel that in this play where the characters are constantly searching, this is a big moment of connection.
Shawna: I think my favourite moment has to be scene 9. It is completely physical, and in the script the stage directions were for Cat 1 and Cat 2 to keep coming out of the fridge one by one as each other. The whole idea is creepy and weird to wrap your head around as written, but Ben turned it into such an equal parts disturbing and fantastical spectacle. There’s an element of being in some kind of sexy Bossa Nova club in the 1950s, alongside paranormal crime noir. The fourth wall is kind of broke down with the audience in this section too which is always a fun dynamic to play with. As one of the actors (alongside Natalie) driving the show at that moment, it feels a little like psychologically torturing the man that we torture throughout, and the audience at the same time, which is really enjoyable (Don’t worry guys, I go to therapy).