The first week was tough. We love this play, we chose this play… but how to unlock its considerable mysteries? One is meant to cast actors whose gender and age (not ethnicity) is specified: ‘a man over 60’, ‘a young woman’, etc. And these actors are given specific bits of the text, to bring to life the action inside the Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese kitchen of The Golden Dragon (where a considerable drama is going on centered around the toothache of its newest worker), and the action outside the kitchen, in the apartment building over the restaurant, in the lives of its immediate neighbors. But the actors never play what they are in reality… like the man over 60 might play the stewardess who looks like a Barbie Doll. And the actors nearly always start by telling us about someone, and then inside their speeches they become the person, hugely emotionally invested people, people at a moment of transition.
So the language of the play is unusual… but the characters are compelling, and their collective story takes over.
Week two, thank goodness that’s what happened, I’d say, we figured out the language, a relationship with the play that allowed us to go along, to fall into the stories of the characters. And now we’re deeply hooked. Our environment is making sense to us too, abstract as it is. Its beauty is a bit in contrast, for me holds a lot of yearning, the characters are yearning. Now what we’ll do is figure out how to take the audience on the same journey that brought us to where we are – inside. A journey in microcosm, a journey that will happen in real time as they watch this play over not even 90 minutes as the sun sets on the Lake.