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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

'Deported' - The Moving Parts

Ken Baltin, Bobbie Steinbach, Liz Hayes and Jeanine Kane.
Having just weathered a more than rigorous rehearsal process, tech week, previews and opening for Deported/ a dream play, I am astounded by how far we have come. Given the state of the piece in later rehearsals of this incredibly complex play full of leaps from 1938 to 1915 to 1978 to 1915 to beyond 2015 to 1915, I was unsure what we would discover in our last week (customarily a very fruitful time) but was sure that the nature of the dreams in this dream play would begin to take more tangible shape, the many dances would get tighter and livelier and the words of the play would become more and more vibrant, unpredictable and integral to the story we were attempting to tell: the story of an Armenian woman who couldn’t tell her story.

In the production we have LOTS of moving parts.  We have a number of dialects (Armenian, Turkish, Mexican), Armenian spoken, couples dances, Armenian line dances, live singing and aside from our 7 actors who play 21 characters, we have a group of 6 “dreamers” who dance and magically move to help us create many of the dreamlike things that occur in the play.  With tech, dress and previews the play began to come into a beautifully sharp focus and the nature of the dreams criss-crossing with the real world became more and more natural to the fabric of the production.   After almost 5 years of developmental exploration, many readings and revisions with Joyce and a group of 9 actors, it was amazing to see the play on stage playing to a live audience.

This weekend we had the extreme pleasure of previewing and opening the production for 4 distinctly different audiences.  Some very mixed ( theater friends, students, Armenian families, BPT subscribers and the general public) and some entirely Armenian (the Armenian International Women’s Association bought out the house on Sunday).  With each successive audience we learned so much about how the story was being told, how people were being brought into the vortex of the story and finding the universal in this very specific world. Tech elements continued evolving along with the performances and by our final show of the opening weekend, the rich layers of the play were coming through in all sorts of incredible ways.  From talk backs with audiences on both Saturday and Sunday we learned so much about how the audience was perceiving the world of the play, what it meant to them, what was provocative, what was upsetting  and what was heart-warmingly funny.  

We are so looking forward to sharing this story with people of all nationalities, all cultures, all walks of life.  It is a story of generations, of extreme cultural prejudice, of families, of women and their evolution in societies and most importantly of LOVE.

Judy Braha
Director, Deported/ a dream play

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