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The secret is out

Four Taino Indians, paraded by Columbus before Queen Isabella, vow to change history. Steeled by myth, each explores a new world in which hope, intimacy, and conquest collide, and Queen Isabella discovers that the world is bigger and more complicated than in her wildest dreams. The Secrets of the World was originally commissioned and developed by PlayGroundBy Eveyln Jean Pine (Jim Kleinmann, Artistic Director.)

Stage readings. I wrapped at least five of them last year. They appeal to me. But why? It wasn’t until this very latest one, THE SECRETS of THE WORLD (by Evelyn Jean Pine), that I came to a conclusion…or multiple conclusions.

I’m a sucker for behind-the-scenes footage on DVDs and watching the process of creating something out of nothing. Unlike some people who feel the magic demystified with insight as to how this and that are made, I feel invigorated! I feel my creative tank fill to the brim –and I charge out of there wanting to do my own creating. Working on stage reading is a chance to jump in one of a river and work your way through it’s twists and bends, and at some point (the end of the process), gingerly stroll back to the banks. And finally, I concluded that I just like being around that environment and it falls into the “I’ll take what I can get” category of an artist building a career. That last sentiment being flexible; There are limits and standards to uphold after all.

Cast w/ playwright and director. Back L-R: John Romulo, James Pierce, Kayleigh Larner, (Playwright) Evelyn Jean Pine, (Director) Janice Wessner. Front L-R: Claire Hein, Christopher, Myles Gilbert, Alika Spencer

It seems like only yesterday I was praising my castmates from the previous stage reading (actually, it was a few months ago) but it’s true, these folks were fun to play with. Each one brought something neat to the table and to watch its evolution within a three day rehearsal (non-consecutive) brought a sense of joy to my heart. And working with our Director, Janice, has been a real treat. I’ve known Janice for some time now, having both worked at San Jose Repertory Theatre and this is my first time engaging a project with her as artists. I’d work with her again. (Praise and recommendation in one fell swoop, like that?)

Yes, he shot first.

First night of rehearsal and I run into Han Solo. Already I knew this was going to be something neat. We had three total nights of rehearsal and a quick run through right before the presentation. By the third night we settled into our characters and just knocked out some kinks. Also, the room next to our rehearsal room was themed out to Star Wars. The Forc…well, you get the idea.

Last minute backstage prep...

And so we read, and had a good time. The post performance Q&A was surprisingly entertaining. I say surprisingly because, I’ll have to admit, they’re not always engaging and I can understand why. With such a varied audience, it was evident that the piece clung to different sensibilities and the responses that were discussed should be more than enough to spur the playwright into a frenzy. Hats off to the cast and crew, and as far as stage readings go, my hats off to our receptive audience members.

The secrets are out... (photo courtesy of Tu Vee)

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