I’m writing this blog days before I leave Rome and my incredible actors here with my co-director Vidhu to continue this journey to opening night. From now on I will be on skype rehearsals only. Scary. Very scary. But I think we’ve built a solid foundation to continue. I’ve had two glorious weeks with these actors. The first week I was alone with them and now Vidhu is here and we seem to be on the same page which makes me happy and relieved and less stressed about not being here for the opening. But at least there is skype. Ah technology! It’s been a relief to watch the skyping work with other collaborations so far this year. Thus is the nature of these Labs. It is a luxury to be able to have both co-directors at the same time in the same place. I think this is what also makes these labs exciting. The possibility of everything exploding but knowing it will always work out in the end.
This year’s Lab has been a thrill. Being able to work in another language poses many challenges in the most wonderful way. Translating this show into Italian has allowed us to become more intimate with the words and language in a way I have not experienced before. Having to negotiate the language with the Italian cast has also proved rewarding. I am a bit long winded so being forced to economize my words so they can understand is welcomed. It’s also been an interesting exercise in adapting slang and phrases that don’t exist in the Italian vernacular as well. This piece is very poetic and the metaphors used in it often get lost in translation. It’s funny to hear something in Italian and instinctively know that it’s not quite captured the essence of the moment. I have loved figuring out how to translate it with this cast that has been doing the translations for us. As usual with these Labs, time is not always on our side, so juggling the needs of the play with trying not to panic to get it done is often an effort. But we know it always gets done.
It’s difficult to describe experiences sometimes. Words often get in the way of magical moments. From the second I met these actors I fell in love with them. They dove into this dark material with such ferocity and courage. They seem to have no boundaries when it comes to rehearsals and are willing to experiment with anything thrown at them. I have been in love with the play we are working on – “Lion in the Streets” since I was in university. It’s textured and tortured and dangerous and it’s been a thrill to excavate these characters with this cast. I think both Vidhu and I have realized what an epic show this is. It’s filled to the brim with twists and turns and religion and sex and I only wish I could have 4 more weeks to truly dig through it to bring it to the place I know it can go, but if anyone can do it in this short a time it’s this cast of actors. This has been one of the most inspiring casts I have ever encountered and had the privilege to work with. I’m so incredibly sad to say goodbye to them. They have taught me how to embrace theatre again with such passion that I hope to bring to all my future projects. I know this blog is slightly over the top with it’s joyous proclamations but this has truly been a phenomenal journey. To mix theatre with the beauty of this city and the passion of the actors is something I will cherish forever.
– Evan Tsitsias, Toronto / Houston