A Playful “Chalk Circle”

24Feb10

I was in for a surprise, the other night, when our actors came onstage. Caucasian Chalk Circle director John Doyle warned me before the second preview that the cast might be a little “playful” with their clothes that night.  I sat in the back, confused and amused as one by one the actors walked onstage with an item or two of clothing that I’d never even seen before.  A beaded skirt became cropped jeans, heavy work boots became sneakers, and a gold dress gave way to stretch pants.  I thought they might wear each others’ hats or wear their coats backwards or something of that nature.  Never did I imagine that he’d given them the full creative liberty of dressing themselves that night!

Once I’d realized how much freedom the actors had been given, I was impressed by how little they decided to change.  We must have done a pretty good job finding clothes that worked within the world of the story we were telling.  The experiment was really informative and started some thoughtful conversations about the choices they made when left up to their own devices.  Some actors moved differently or were more comfortable in different items and I then worked to provide substitutes or find a better solution using the clothes we had originally provided.

It’s a great feeling to be a part of a production where such playfulness is encouraged and there is such a high level of trust amongst the entire cast and crew.  John trusted the cast to make decisions that were true to their characters (and trusted me not to freak out in the back row!) and the cast felt free to experiment without fear.

Production photographs by Kevin Berne
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