Now that it has been a month since Within Arm’s Reach opened at the Secret Theatre, I feel like I can finally post my wrap-up without conveying with every word my stress about the show (I swear it was written long ago and not today). I didn’t want to pass the stress on to the audience or cast…or that is my excuse for this taking that long to post.
Those of you that know me are probably wondering: “Why so stressed, Molly? You’ve been working in theatre with multiple titles for the same project for nearly ten years now.” Perhaps this is true, but this is the first time I’d attempted to have four titles for a show. Although, Jess and I had always talked about me coming on to her “baby” project of Within Arm’s Reach as co-adapter and co-producer, by the time we had an audience I was also set and costume designer. That being said, stress was abundant in my life for this production as there are not enough hours in the day.
The entire process start to finish was very quick. Jess and I really didn’t get our hands dirty with the adaption until January and we opened in mid-March. Did I mention I’ve never adapted a novel into a script before? What would I do without Jess? It’s a question I asked during this process qite a bit. Adapting was a process that I had a love/hate relationship with at the beginning. Currently, those of you who saw our last production The Sandman’s Coming know this, I’m in a place where my biggest theatrical interest is exploring story telling without an abundance of words (or what I’m starting to coin as Beyond Words Theatre). Within Arm’s Reach was words, a lot of beautiful words. It was daunting to say the least. It was fascinating to learn the parts of the story that Jess was very drawn to verse what I was.
Fast-forward through casting and I suddenly realized, “Oh, right. I’m designing. Maybe I should start that.” It’s been a bit since I’ve costume designed a piece that I wasn’t also directing (I originally went to university for costume design), so I was thrilled to jump right back in with this. Jess and I have worked together in so many ways, however, I can’t say I wasn’t nervous for our first director/designer show. Made even worse by the fact that I was designing the set as well as costumes. Part of what makes Jess and I a great team is how differently we work. The rest of our design team got this a lot during tech. What’s the verdict on Jess as director and me as designer? I would happily design for any show that Jess directed!
Within Arm’s Reach brought out one of my initial reasons for getting involved in theatre. The community of artists that is formed during a show, however fleeting, is beautiful. From late night/early mornings painting the theater with Jess, to character chats with the cast, to listening to Ien morph the sounds of children; we had a truly wonderful group for this one.
This is all to say that sometimes, stress and being in a slightly uncomfortable situation end up creating a product that, at the end of the day, you are thrilled with. Of course though, it’s not ALL about me. Within Arm’s Reach would not have been the same without the wonderful cast, crew, donors, and audience we had and I can’t say THANK YOU enough to everyone involved. But, really, can I sleep now?
Disclaimer: Any grammar/spelling mistakes were made to keep John on his toes!