Out of nowhere I got the chance to direct a play. Tennessee Williams neglected masterpiece, Kingdom Of Earth. No less. I’ve never directed live theater… So this is going to be a trip.
Today was the first rehearsal. I spent last night and this morning reading the text for the first time. It’s pretty fantastic.
Here’s the plot: A TB positive transvestite tries to scam his half brother out of his dead mother’s house using a ditzy showgirl that he’d married two days before.
In the classic haunted house trope, here are three actors stuck in a crumbling house, while the mississippi swells to flooding. They cannot leave. The external conflict rises in step with the drama in the kitchen. It’s a love triangle where love is replaced by power. Someone said everything is about sex. Except for sex. Sex is about power.
It’s both hilarious, and dark. Sordid. Serious and sarcastic. Motives are in a constant state of drift.
The production is by a small theater group called Synthetic Unlimited. They are non-equity, but their goal is to push the boundaries of what community theater is capable of. They are nimble. When the main venue in town became to expensive, SU switched things up. Now the shows happen at *the stonehouse* a venue with a bar, food, and room for opening acts. It seats about 50. The last venue sat closer to 400. Eventually the plan is to orchestrate shows that happen in multiple rooms of the storehouse. To move the audience with the action. In short, SU is the kind of company that can roll with the punches and make great theater happen under less than ideal circumstances. But I digress. I digress because my favorite writer way back was Neal Stephenson. And the digressions are the best part. In fact, the sheer information that he unloads onto you during a read can sometimes be overpowering. But, the upshot is hat you become a passible cryptography expert. But he always brings it back. Like I’m about to do.
In the play, Tennessee Williams plays with the same concept. Myrtle, the young wife, says … Wait. Shit. That was the other book I was reading. Shit. I had this awesome loop all planed out. I guess the point is that I have quite a bit of work to do. I’ve read the script once, and now it’s time to read it about 8 more times.
Where’s the production at?
Script read. 1st day down. Concept in mind. 1st act walk through with actors and first pass blocking notes done. Dates set. Space rented. Crew consists of Me Director, stage manager Wes, lights Anjya, set Pam, Lot – Brian, Chicken – Jimmy, Myrtle – Grace.
Opening is MAY 16! Just over 3 weeks. Wish my ass some luck.