It’s the first day of Spring! While Chicago does its best New Orleans impression, the cast and crew have been hard at work rehearsing A Streetcar Named Desire. The show is completely blocked, and tonight was the first time the cast ran it in its entirety. I had the pleasure of seeing the rehearsal, and I’ll be the first to tell you it is shaping up to be phenomenal. The cast is energized, focused, and excited. I hope you’re all prepared to be transported to a fantastically detailed world.
They’ve spent the past two weeks rehearsing in Mundelein 409, awaiting the completion of the set across campus in the Kathleen Mullady Memorial Theatre. After staging the show, they’ve been focusing on dialect and moment-to-moment work. With their first run through of the play, the cast gets the chance to see how each scene fits into the play’s greater story. The management and directing team also gets the chance to track props, set pieces, and actors across the stage. It’s an opportunity to solve problems with movement, both onstage and offstage. Sound designer Mikhail Fiksel also attended rehearsal to listen to the play and its music. A full run through is the perfect chance for designers to see how the director and cast have staged the show. They can learn what moments to emphasize and how the relationships are evolving.
Mundelein 409 has been transformed, with dozens of rehearsal props turning the room into a proper New Orleans apartment building. It’s certainly a challenge for the cast, since the rehearsal room doesn’t have enough space to simulate the giant Mullady stage and sprawling set. The cast begins rehearsal on the set this Friday, March 23rd.
Meanwhile, they use substitute set pieces and rehearsal props to simulate the real thing. Most actors wear similar shoes and clothing items to get used to how it feels to move. Movement isn’t the only thing the actors need to get used to. A flat rehearsal room is acoustically very different from a 400-seat proscenium theatre like the Mullady. Director Jonathan Wilson was quick to remind the cast of how different the two spaces are. “I want you to think in terms of playing this in the Mullady,” he advises the cast before the full run. “Get your voices out of this room and into the Mullady space.” The actors are facing the challenge head on, however, and it is already paying off.
So what’s next for our intrepid Streetcar ensemble? Now that they’ve run the play once, they can continue to run the play’s three acts to tighten up pace and discover even more about character relationships. The cast is itching to move into the theatre. From there, they hit the ground running with more full runs. Tech rehearsals begin the first weekend in April!
Lucky for you, Arts Alive patrons, tickets for this masterpiece of American theatre are already on sale! Head here to purchase/reserve your tickets. The show opens Friday, April 13th and runs through Sunday, April 20th.
I’ll even offer you a little insider tip: Thursday, April 12th is a Preview performance, and tickets are half price! Call or email the LUC Box Office (773.508.3847) for details!
Stay tuned to this blog for more details and more inside looks at the process of A Streetcar Named Desire!