Saturday at the “sausage factory”…

posted by Tamara Dudukovich, City Theatre Board member

(Last weekend, City Theatre Board member Tamara Dudukovich visited us in rehearsal for Louder Faster by Eric Simonson and Jeffrey Hatcher. Tamara was able to watch a run-through, and she sent in her thoughts for the City Theatre blog, sort of a “report from the rehearsal hall” for those who don’t get a chance to step in and watch. Here’s what Tamara has to say:)

Instead of cooking up my Easter kielbasa, I spent this past Saturday morning watching a different sort of sausage being made.  I got to sit in on the first run-through of Louder Faster, the new Jeffrey Hatcher/Eric Simonson collaboration being prepared as the last dish on CT’s 2010-2011 season menu.  The play, set in the 1930s, is inspired by and in the style of Pittsburgh’s own George S. Kaufmann.   From what I could tell, it’s stuffed with zany antics, social commentary, local puns, and double entendres that give the flavor of that era (including lots of sausage jokes).   Some people might prefer not knowing  exactly what goes into the cultural fare they consume, just as watching Kitchen Nightmares can destroy one’s appetite for fine dining.  Not me – I relished the opportunity to follow the cast, CT’s artistic and production staff, and playwright Simonson into the theatrical kitchen. 

Most striking to me was the measure of seriousness that everyone brought to the art of making comedy – and the quickness with which actors went in and out of character, and the production team and playwright Simonson set about their tasks.  When I arrived at the rehearsal room above Carson Street shortly before 10 am, folks were stretching, getting coffee, making casual chit-chat.  In seconds – certainly less time than it takes to bring water to a boil – a trio of actors had whipped themselves into a frenzy of silly indignation in order to polish some sight and sound gags that included some swift face slaps.  Good morning!  Next, Patti Kelly called folks to their places and for precisely the next hour, the cast ran through of Act 1 amid a makeshift set with minimal props and (from what I could tell) hardly a missed cue.  When Kelly intoned “lights up,”  just as suddenly conversation turned back to exchanging news of the weird and shopping tips (vintage South Side and warehouse clubs alike) while director Tracy Brigden and dramaturg Carlyn Aquiline offered some gentle suggestions to Simonson about potential script changes. Then in another rapid change, everyone was back in role for another focused, intent hour of serious play-making, proving to me just how much hard work, and many mornings like this, are necessary ingredients into serving up evenings of madcap, fast-paced theatre.  Just after noon, when the rehearsal broke for a quick lunch break, I left with my appetite whetted for more.


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