"Anniversary" Again

“Anniversary” rehearsals have re-begun. We did this show 2 years ago at The Ensemble Studio Theatre in the 2010 Marathon and now it’s a part of The Samuel French Short Play Festival. It goes up October 23rd in NYC.

Rachel Bonds wrote this piece and it's funny and strange and beautiful to revisit it. The lovely Jerry Richardson is playing Matt again. Linsay Firman is directing again. I'm Penelope again. One of my favorite characters. And names. 

Wild to be saying words we spoke before, and moving around the space as we did before, but now with time doing its dance between shows... Marinading inside of us...I would’ve thought I’d have forgotten it all but something inside us remembers, doesn’t it? 

I said "I'm 6 months and exhausted"  before, but I didn't know then what 6 or 7 or 8 months pregnant and exhausted felt like ... And now when we say "Time passes and passes and passes" it resonates with something else in me - something linked to my having a child now and seeing how each day brings something new for him - his first tooth top, his first taste of solid-ish oatmeal, his first drooly ride in a bucket swing.

I love that about playing characters and having them work on me and in me - on my gut, my insides... they roam around in my life and find little places to land, to dig, to find motivation for this scene, that line...

Yesterday we re-solidified the blocking for the end of the show, which is choreographed - honoring the poetry and repetition that Rachel has written into it  - in one section, Jerry lifts me and we spin. It was exhilarating.

I had forgotten that.

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October 21, 2012: We had a dress-rehearsal-of-sorts tonight. Wearing our duds and running the piece a couple of times - making little adjustments here and there. Linsay's eye for precision and elegant movement is really something.

Michael Dalto and Stephanie Wright Thompson have joined us as the sparkling Neal and Caroline. They are luminous and funny and set the party scene with panache.

The vulnerability and rawness of this play hits me each time. In a way, I wish we could run it for months - going where it takes us. Rachel writes with such economy and humor...

Looks like we are 3rd in the line up of 4 plays on Tuesday and if we are selected, we go on to perform Sunday night, as well. I hope we get to do this lovely play again on Sunday, but also want to stay in the moment and just soak up this chance to revisit the "mediocre deli" of Rachel's creation. I've grown so found of it. And of the beach at Montauk too. "Let's just sleep out here tonight, " he says... And I reply, "Perfect."

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October 23, 2012: The audience was warm and large - filling the Beckett Theater space in Theatre Row. We were third on the bill. The energy felt good out there - Jerry and I were really talking and listening - his presence is so strong and true - great to play off of. The show starts on such a raw note and I always find myself hoping people will go with me there into the "mediocre deli" for some "grey roast beef." It seems they did because leading out of that scene, Stephanie and Michael popped out to invite me to their party and laughs bounced around the theater - they play Caroline and Neal with such zest. From there, we rolled on through the piece and suddenly were at the end of Rachel's gorgeous play. It went so quickly that could hardly believe we were sitting at our final places - in the table center stage when Jerry spoke Matt's line: "Time passes and passes and passes." "Yes," I say. Indeed it does. Lights out.

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October 24, 2012: We won a place in Sunday's finals! "Anniversary" will perform on October 28, 2012 at 2:30pm. It's coming around again!

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October 28, 2012 Storm Sandy has swept in - at this point only with some winds and cloud-cover, but today's show was cancelled...I'm hoping that means "post-poned" but I'm not sure of that yet.  Stay tuned and hopefully Miss Rachel Bonds will win another round of the Sam French Festival and be published for writing the beautiful play "Anniversary."

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October 28, 2012 A little later. Rachel Bonds won! "Anniversary" will be published by Samuel French! What a beautiful turn of events in the midst of the powerful winds and rains of Sandy.

My favorite line - one that I will miss saying - echoes through me so deeply. It speaks to loss and regret in a profound way. Penelope has reached a place that I haven't, but it ripples through me nonetheless:

"And, at some point, the memory of you shifts. It becomes sepia toned and quiet."