Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Inside The Festival: Thoughts From A Lowly Intern

Hello world, this is William Cirocco. I'm one of the interns toiling to make this festival as incredible as it deserves to be, and at the request of the lovely Ms. Baron, will do my best to offer a few insights from the trenches here at Ojai. To start, I'll offer a few thoughts from the rehearsal process we've been engaged in

How best to put it? Intense. We've spent the past three days in our cramped little rooms, actors, directors, playwrights, stage managers, dramaturges, and interns, slaving away on the scripts that are the centerpieces of this festival. I've been in the room with a piece by Frances Ya-Chu Cowig, called Lidless. It is a wonderful story told with beautiful, dream-like dialogue. What I really admire about it, though, is that even with its ethereality, the play still manages to be visceral and relevant. Frances has a real skill for setting up these striking visuals, and I'm looking forward to getting past our table work and putting the piece on its feet, so some of those stage pictures can emerge, even if we are only offering a staged reading.

The one responsible for creating these images is our absolutely brilliant director Jessica Kubzansky. She is a theatrical erudite, and commands a remarkable ability to understand and dissect a scene, or guide the actors through the construction of their characters. And she does this all with a smile on her face. She is the director I want to grow into.

So, we've been fighting our way through the script, bit by bit, hammering out all of the moments and details in the story. The amount of intellectual and creative energy in the room is staggering; I just sit there reading stage directions while the actors carry on remarkably sophisticated conversations with each other, Jessica, and occasionally Frances. Every once in a while I'll work up the nerve to offer my two cents, which is great, because the atmosphere is such that even I feel comfortable speaking up amidst these powerhouses.

It is truly an honor and privilege to be in the company of such extraordinary people. I cannot possibly do justice to each of the artists here, and really, I wish I had a month here at least so that I could soak up the vibes and talent from each and every person, but time runs short (only five days left!). As a matter of fact, I gotta run back to rehearsal right now.


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