I can now say that I have performed in a play at the Guthrie Theater. And man, what a cool experience!
“Are you gay?”
There is a part of the play where the chorus interacts with the gunman in the gunman’s self-indulgent “frequently asked questions” segment. That was the question I got to ask.
The play was, in a word, heavy. I already told you that it was about a woman (a priest and choir director) coming to grips with being a survivor of the mass shooting of her community choir.
The play has two performers, a pianist/conductor, and a chorus. There really is no set, no detailed costumes, and very few props. The chorus sits on risers on-stage and is visible the entire time. We form sort of a mirror for the audience– our reactions are their reactions, especially since we are watching the play unfold at the same time they are.
We only got a bare glimpse of the show during our one rehearsal– and that was only so we would understand the flow and know our basic cues. The rest was all “organic”.
I will say, it was odd being in the position of both audience and performer. I was aware of every movement and reaction I had on stage and tried my level best not to pull focus. It also gave a very different perspective to be watching the show from behind the action but also being in the action.
It’s very difficult to describe.
Claire (the protagonist) is trying to make sense out of being a survivor and the play is told non-linearly. It’s fractured on purpose to show her increasingly desperate attempts to understand the reason the boy shot everyone.
The other actor actually plays 11 roles: the shooter, her psychiatrist, her lesbian partner, the shooter’s father, a reporter, a friend of the shooter, a politician, etc.
I will say that I cried a bit on stage at the big confrontational moment. The moment where Claire confronts the Boy (shooter) during a prison visit. She’s smuggled in poison and has poisoned his tea and is asking him “Why?” Over and over.
He can’t offer any solid answers and she gets increasingly desperate.
Finally She challenges him to remember what he said during the shooting when he came across her and Mrs. Singh hiding in a closet. She reminded him that he pointed the gun at them both and said, “I have only one bullet left. Tell me which one of you to shoot.”
And then she yells at him– “And do you remember what we said?? DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT WE BOTH SAID???”
“Me. We both said ‘Shoot me.'”
And then she knocks the as-yet untouched tea out of his hand.
And even though I knew in my heart this moment was coming– hearing it caused tears to well up.
And then we had the final song to sing. Gah!!!!
I would go more in depth into the play itself, but there are so many levels and nuances that I just can’t. Suffice it to say, that it will remain with me for awhile.
Afterward, we got to hang with the cast and crew and have a few drinks with them at the bar at the Theater. That was awesome! I chatted quite a bit with the director, the guy who played multiple roles, and the music director/pianist. They’re all from London- so I got to be a giddy Anglophile and we chatted all things UK.
The entire experience was nothing short of awesome.