Behind the Scenes

News from the Dramaturg

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


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. 

Posted by Kaela Bamberger at 3:57PM   |  Add a comment
ithaca college plumfield iraq army march cadence


All the cast members run to stand in formation. Each is trying to emulate the focus and form which a member of the ROTC program had come in to demonstrate just a week before. Each eases into the milieu of Plumfield, Iraq. The attempt to understand the intricacies of life as a soldier is one of many challenges unique to the show, one essential to making it come alive.

At this point in production, all lines are memorized and the primary focus is blocking. The technical nature of the show and the set (Brian Prather, designer) requires extensively specific blocking that the cast and director (Cynthia Henderson) takes meticulous steps to calculate and memorize. Specific character work is approaching, a process in which Cynthia will work one on one with individuals in the cast to create depth to each person's portrayal.

Each performer will attempt to understand the innocence of being a high schooler and the unimaginable conditions of a deployed reservist. But with the support of the director, assistant director (Jordan Reiff, '13), and the rest of the cast, the interpretations should be tight by the time of performance. 

Posted by Benjamin Shipley at 11:27AM   |  Add a comment

 Ever wondered what it's like to sit in on an Ithaca College mainstage rehearsal? Ever been curious about what goes into the process of creating everything you see in Dillingham from programs to talkbacks to lobby displays? Well, this is the blog for you! The dramaturgs of Dillingham are allowed this unique experience and are excited to be able to share it all with you. Look here for posts from the dramaturg for each show during our mainstage season to be informed of all the goings on.

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