Our Aloha read-through last night was most notably punctuated by a surprise guest appearance from Bonnie, straight off the plane from Russia! I have to say, it sure is nice having your Artistic Director back in town. Especially when she's chock full of great ideas and new approaches to theatre. And since Bonniwell was able to show up last night too, it marked the first time our entire creative team have been in the same room since August. Turns out you get a much more complete view of a show when everyone can contribute their own expertise. Huh.
In addition to the four of us, we were joined by Alison Haracznak, Becca Muhleman, Joe Carlson, and Brandon Crowder. I can't say enough how nice it is to hear a script out loud. Suzanne and I have lately been working on audition pieces from Aloha, and therefore have been studying parts of the play. But it's never the same as having 5 other people approach all the different characters (and there are a lot of different characters).
Aloha Say The Pretty Girls by Naomi Iizuka is one of the scripts that we're thinking about for a future Night Light production. We wanted to introduce it into our read-through program to see if we still liked it after really hearing and studying it. I'd like to hear other opinions, but I certainly did.
One of the questions Bonnie asked us before the read-through was what the relevance of this particular show was. Why was it important for us to do this show now? Taking that into consideration, we found a lot of parallels between the script and our own situations.
The story follows ten or so twenty-somethings as they forge and break relationships, migrate, evolve, and deal with all those questions that twenty-somethings deal with. On paper, admittedly, it sounds pretty boring (is the plight of the twenty-something interesting to anyone not 21-29? Is it even interesting to us anymore?) However, one character turns into a lizard, one gets (possibly) eaten by a giant dog, several live in an Alaskan terrarium, and there are so so many pinatas. The constant coming and going, and the migration of the characters from NYC to the far western states is a trend that still rings true for any age group. We are a nation, generation, whatever, etc. of people wary of settling down and setting up roots, yet feel compelled to, nonetheless. Families are established between characters that have nothing to do with blood ties, and are all the stronger because of it.
The show features an Altman-like ensemble story. No one character plays the lead or has a more important plot line that any of the other, and over the course of the show, everyone interacts with everyone else. As a company that believes highly in ensemble work, as well as using everyone involved equally (actors, designers, etc.) to build a show, I think that this script really lends itself to that process.
So, while not dealing with the current political system or the economic crisis we're facing right now, I think a good argument can still be made for the timeliness of Aloha, as well as it's relevance to Night Light Collective.