By Bill Fennelly
What a week! I am just back home in NYC after an incredible week at Emerson. Casting and Meetings, Meetings, Meetings: Design meetings, Creative Concept meetings, Casting Meetings and Dramaturgy meetings! It was exhilarating!!!
First of all we have just announced an amazing cast. I was blown away by the level of talent and preparedness of the Emerson students and in particular the Music Theater majors. NINE deals with very sophisticated issues of identity, relationships and sexuality but it also has a real sense of humor. The students did incredible work in the auditions and I watched so many of them have astonishing discoveries and make big fearless choices (and I wish you all could have been in the room with Jon Goldberg, our fabulous Music Director and me as all 10 Women called back for Carla, Guido’s mistress, came in and one by one sang the delicious and naughty “Call From the Vatican” each one giving a brilliant sexy-comic performance that had me regularly blushing and laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face).
I also could not be happier or more proud of the design team. I am so impressed with their level of taste and sophistication. I am also thrilled at how well they communicate with each other and understand the importance and cross-pollination effect of collaboration. I will be back in Boston next week for two marathon days of “formatting.” Formatting is a process I learned while assisting Des McAnuff on the creation of JERSEY BOYS. It is a process of putting the creative team in the room together prior to rehearsals to collaboratively work through the production moment by moment. This becomes especially important with a show like NINE where the approach is highly conceptual and takes place “in the mid of the artist.” I will share more design information once it is final….but I am very excited about where we are.
The dramaturgy discussion are off to an exciting start. I spent two days with Dramaturg Gina Le Donne discussing Freud, Jung and Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual Development. I shared with Gina my strong belief that dramaturgy needs to empower the acting company and creative team with “playable” information; theory, ideas and facts that can produce action and behavior. I have also shared with her my process of for text analysis and Liz Lerman’s process called TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR CRITICAL RESPONSE (if you don’t know what this is check it out it will change your life…I’m not kidding)
Finally, I want to thank Stage Manager Cait Powers and Assistant Director Michael Bello for their amazing support and organization this week!!!
Here we go……………………..!!!