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Posted by Kaela Bamberger at 2:56AM   |  Add a comment
Soldiers in Iraq patrolling a dusty road.

NO, NO, LET'S TRY THIS AGAIN

Cynthia Henderson (director) stands on a chair, contemplating the scene which the actor's perform again and again. Every so often she will get off the chair and move to another angle of the scene. Suddenly she will call halt to the action in the middle of the studio to readjust blocking, to stress an intricacy which a member of the cast is missing. 

"That's what these rehearsals are for," she nods to an unsure performer. Now that the cast is capable of full runs, rehearsals are devoted to scene work, addressing problems in specific parts of the show. After this comes technical rehearsals, where the entire company must be sure of their place on the stage. Slowly the kinks in the show are addressed and Plumfield, Iraq becomes a fluid story.

The rehearsal props provide a chilling contrast to the studio space in which the team still works. Each of the actors wears their militarily accurate combat boots in the scenes where they portray deployed soldiers. Rehearsal guns, acquired from the ROTC program, are held distinctly by all the soldiers on stage. The accurate way to carry and point a gun was shown to the cast by Meghan Taglang, who is a graduate student at Ithaca and has been in ROTC training for four years, and is continually supported by Ned Donovan (BFA Musical Theatre, '12) the fight choreographer and an actor in the show. As each performer gets familiar with the military gear and weaponry, the theatricality melts away into something disturbing - a device employed by the playwright. The transformation from a group of college students to a platoon in Iraq is a sobering one. 


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