Stratford Festival – Romeo and Juliet PRO and first read

We started our time together on Romeo and Juliet with a pre-rehearsal orientation (PRO), which is a fairly new (at the Festival) practice of gathering, unpacking ideas and assumptions about how we do this work, and generally (and genuinely) creating a culture of care and support in the room. Stratford has been doing these for a few years now, and every year their team works hard to try and make the process more focused, relevant to each room, and current. This year’s was the best yet.

Our setup in the room for PRO

After a number of years here (8? 9? I don’t know) as sound designer and composer (often together, and often as sole musician, and waaaaayyyyy too often on multiple shows in the same season (but not this time because now I’m intelligent (temporarily)) I’ve worked in every theatre multiple times, except for the Festival Theatre. There is a lot of history in this building and it’s amazing to be in it as an artist.

I’m excited to work with our director, Sam White of Shakespeare in Detroit – we worked together last season on Wedding Band, a supercharged exploration of love, class, and race, and being in the room with her that season was the #1 reason I said “yes” when she asked me to be composer and sound designer for this one.

Sam runs an incredible room, full of community and lifting each other up – it’s extraordinary and frankly I’d work with her anytime for that reason alone (even though she is also a kick-ass director and brings to bear a razor-sharp intellect in making story). She would be the first to say that community building and our health (spiritual/mental/emotional/physical) is the most important thing in working together, because from that care and community excellence is made. It just follows – you can’t help but for it to happen.

Anyhow, the building: it’s quite a maze! I got lost about 3x just trying to get to the bathroom and back.

Today we do our first read around the table. I will exercising my note-taking skills this morning! And in the afternoon I will be visiting one of the on-stage percussionists’ studio to see what we can ask him to bring to the show. More on that later.

Here we go….

Thanks for reading!

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