Precious Little first rehearsal brings City Theatre together

posted by Molly MacLagan, Literary and Dramaturgy Intern

Precious Little rehearsals started last Tuesday, and playwright Madeleine George was on hand to see her remarkable play take the first steps towards its City Theatre production.  Precious Little follows gifted linguist Brodie as she receives cryptic results of a genetic test performed on her unborn child, and unexpectedly finds herself struggling to decide what to do about it.  As a single woman with no romantic partner to turn to, she looks for comfort in an elderly speaker of a dying language, and an ape at the zoo that was formerly part of a language acquisition program.  At the meet and greet before the first rehearsal, City Theatre staff members exchanged memories of visits to the zoo.  City Theatre Artistic Director Tracy Brigden, who’s directing Precious Little, also announced that the cast and available company members would be making a field trip to the zoo.  Then (after a light lunch of course) it was back to work.

The design presentation allowed company members to see the work that has been done thus far by the designers.  Brigden presented scenic designer Anne Mundell’s model, as Mundell was unable to join.  The foreground is very sparse, to allow it to become a variety of locations, including Brodie’s office, a doctor’s office, and an examination room.  The enclosure at the back of the stage, Brigden explained, would function both as the exhibit at the zoo where Brodie visits the ape, and as a recording booth in the linguistics department where Brodie works with Cleva, the speaker of the dying language mentioned earlier.  This visually represents the play’s theme of “enclosures” and the opposition of inside/outside.  Lighting designer Andy Ostrowski was also on hand to explain some of the ways his design would utilize institutional lighting to continue those explorations. 
Ange Vesco, the costume designer, presented her concept board and described some of her ideas.  Actors Theo Allyn and Laurie Klatscher will both be playing multiple characters, so differentiating the roles is something Vesco is already thinking about.  In addition, she’s exploring ways to create distinction in age -characters range in age from mid-twenties to seventies – and how to subtly and theatrically dress Klatscher when she’s the ape!  Before the first read-through, Literary Manager and Dramaturg Carlyn Aquiline provided print and video resources about everything from prenatal testing, genetics, and ultrasound to linguistics and ape-language experiments.

Another exciting moment was the small birthday celebration held for the Assistant Stage Manager, Lauren Connolly.  Check out photos of the meet and greet, design presentation, and mini-birthday party below.   Check back soon for more about Precious Little.


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