There is something magical about sitting in an audience as the house lights dim.

The buzz in the room settles into quiet anticipation as we wait to be transported into someone else's world, someone else's story. But what we see on the stage is just the culmination of weeks, sometimes months of work behind the scenes by artists of all description: actors, directors, designers, wardrobe people, carpenters, painters, sound and light experts and others.

This blog will give you a fly-on-the-wall glimpse into that unknown world, following the rehearsal process.
This will be your guide to the hard work, fun and weirdness of putting together a play
for a professional theatre company.

You'll never watch a play in the same way again!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Now blogging: Kelly Rae Jenken, Apprentice Director of Vigil by Morris Panych, on at PTE November 19 - December 7, 2014

Michael Spencer-Davis
November 2 -- Well…here we are! Blog number one at the end of rehearsal week one! What an amazing week with a group of amazing people! Everybody’s brains are ready to explode from information overload. There is so much going on in this play and the amount of work the actors have done in a mere six days is incredible.

Stage Manager Melissa Novecosky,
Michael Spencer-Davis,
Doreen Brownstone, Kelly Rae Jenken
& Assistant Stage Manager Leslie Sidley
Let me tell you a bit about our Vigil family: Doreen Brownstone (who is 92 years old!) is an utter delight as Grace. Michael Spencer-Davis plays Kemp. His dedication, work ethic, and specificity in the role is extraordinary. Both he and Doreen offer a plethora of hysterical moments in rehearsal, and we all laugh bunches! Melissa Novecosky and Leslie Sidley make up our Stage Management team. They're those two people who are busy pre-setting all the props, making schedules, watching blocking and lines (just to name a few of their many, many tasks). We would all be lost without our Stage Managers; they're the greatest. PTE's Artistic Director, Bob Metcalfe, is our esteemed director. There is no better person to direct this play. That man knows his Morris Panych.

So I guess that leaves me…who am I? I’m Kelly, and I’m working as the apprentice director on this production. What does that mean? Well, every apprenticeship is a learning experience, and every apprenticeship is different, depending on the show. Two years ago, when I worked on The Dishwashers, one of my tasks was to choreograph a tango. This time, I’ve been tasked with blogging, and doing some research, like creating a complete timeline of Kemp's life to support the backstory of the play. I also spent some time before rehearsals doing prep work. During rehearsals, I take notes, watch sightlines, and I learn from Bob’s professional directing experience. This particular directing apprenticeship is very special to me, as Vigil has been my favourite play for many years. I am honoured to be a part of this rehearsal process. 

This week’s rehearsal hall fun fact: As part of her character, Doreen has been wearing these adorable knit booties (which she made herself). The other day, she gathered us all around and presented each of us with our very own pair of knit booties to match hers. Mine are purple. They are the best. 

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