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First Rehearsal: 'Holy Shit This Is Real'

Updated: Aug 3, 2018

Hi! Welcome! My name is Morgan and I play Sara in Dandelion Theatre’s first ever devised work, Everything In Between.

Since creating a devised piece has been a brand new experience for Dandelion, we wanted to share aspects of our process with you. Yes, you! Whether you’re curious about how we got from the rehearsal room to opening night, interested in producing a devised work yourself or just know someone in the cast and feel obligated to read this, we hope you enjoy our brand spankin’ new blog!

And now, I present ‘First Rehearsal: Holy Shit This is Real’ by Morgan Crouch

I went to summer camp as a kid. Yup, i'm one of those people. And here's something that actually tips my campiness over the edge: I was a camper until i was 16 years old. That's right, while all of my friends decided to become junior counselors, counselors and trip leaders, i remained a camper. And it totally ruled.

At our very first rehearsal all the way back in January, we were asked to bring in an object, article, quote that represented either the passage of time or a sense of mystery and/or awe. I brought in my camp shirt. I've had it for 18 years and recently started wearing it again for no particular reason. For having had it so long, the shirt's in pretty decent shape - the only noticeable wear is one small hole in the arm seam. The change that isn’t so noticeable is that at one point it was covered with inside jokes, secret crushes, not-so-secret crushes, phone numbers, etc. It was the equivalent of a wearable yearbook -- except instead of putting it on a bookshelf to never look at again, i wore it as often as possible.

Today there are just a couple of random marks left -- no inside jokes, no secret-not-so-secret crushes, nothing legible at all. Of course the memories will always be there (i know! i know!) but now they're not any different from those conjured up when i hear the word 'camp'. The shirt no longer possess any specificity, no longer serves its function.

When i shared this with the ensemble, the first thing that came up was that both Casey and Martha went to Camp Echo as kids, naturally making my heart burst and melt simultaneously. After that brief but glorious schmooze fest, the ensemble opened a dialogue about how we use material objects as public identifiers: concert t-shirts, logos, jersey's, etc. The Wisconsin Packer's Cheese-head that Cynthia's mom shipped to her when she was serving in Afghanistan shared a similar characteristic -- while imbued with a much more personal story, it's also a material representation of her community, her home, her tribe. These innocuous items of clothing immediately connect us to others without question; they're the easiest way for us to shout 'Hey! I'm with you!’, which made me question whether wearing this shirt and bringing it to rehearsal was all that ‘random’ afterall. It’s hard to imagine that there wasn’t a small part of me hoping one person in the room would be familiar with Camp Echo or at the very least with being a camper -- subconsciously or not, wouldn’t that have been the easiest way to immediately establish a connection on my first day? The answer, dear reader, is ‘doy’ still remains a mystery to us all.

The entire rehearsal was peppered with conversations just like this one. We talked about the passage of time after Nicole shared two shells she collected years apart from one another; how our experience with an object, book, passage does not provide insight to how another will experience it after Katherine shared her favorite children’s book she grew up reading. These personal stories not only helped us to get to know one another in an incredibly thoughtful way, but they also helped us begin to focus on what themes we were drawn to as a collective, themes that would ultimately shape the world we wanted to build together.

And by the next rehearsal, we had a final draft. Wait! No! Just kidding! That’s still months away!

This was just the very first day and hopefully it was able to provide some insight as to where Dandelion began this process, how we went about generating themes before focusing on storylines and character arcs, why it was important for us to walk into our first rehearsal without any preconceived expectations. There’s so much more to come that we cannot wait to share -- every post will be written by a different member of the ensemble, so you’ll get to read about our process from a variety of perspectives!




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