PCS Blog

Highlights from Rehearsal: Behind the Scenes of “Typographer’s Dream”

Posted by Allyson Walters | 12 November 2014

On its surface, The Typographer’s Dream seems like a very simple production concept. Three characters. A panel presentation. No theatrical lighting or elaborate sets. But Director Rose Riordan and the cast worked extensively during rehearsal to bring this seemingly simple world to life.
 

Sharonlee McLean, Kelsey Tyler and Laura Faye Smith
 
We asked Kelsey Tyler, Laura Faye Smith and Sharonlee McLean to share their favorite highlights from the rehearsal process to give you a sense of the detailed work that went into creating this production.
 

On Preparing to Perform with the House Lights Up:


Kelsey Tyler: Rose knew the relationship between us and the audience was going to be a unique one.  To prepare for potential distractions, Rose had us run lines almost every day with blindfolds on. While we were running the lines she would do her best to distract us and mess us up. Tactics included physically moving us around, making us do it while dancing around to loud music, talking over us or whispering in our ear, flogging us with a big stick (ok, not really, but you get the picture).
 
 
Laura Faye Smith: Rose would also sit across from us while we were rehearsing the show and purposely try to look bored, fidgety, disengaged, texting on her phone, whispering to the person next to her, etc., to help us learn to keep focused no matter what was going on in the audience. Trying to figure out the balance between what audience behavior you can acknowledge and ignore has been tricky with this show, so it was great training.


 
 

On Digging into the Careers of Their Characters:

 

Laura Faye Smith: We each did a job shadow with a geographer, typographer and stenographer respectively, which was HUGELY informative. Spending a full day actually being able to see that person in their environment, doing their actual work, and being able to ask them questions was really great.  Before this show, I had never really thought specifically about what a geographer would do all day. It was fascinating to talk to him and see him work hands on.
 
Kelsey Tyler: Early on we did a ton of research, most of it provided by the fabulous Kelly Collum, Rose's assistant for the production. Kelly provided each of us with a dropbox full of photos, youtube videos, essays and other research. We had a few days to review the information and then we had to give a presentation on our job to the group, including a Q&A at the end. I made the group try and write down the directions for baking chocolate chip cookies while I read them aloud. We looked at the different ways people abbreviate words, or use symbols to “make writing fast enough to keep up with talking” – stenography!
 
Sharonlee McLean:  I loved my job shadowing at AHA! Kelly Collum's research was really informative so that I could follow the job shadowing. Read a blog post about Sharonlee’s day of job shadowing. 

 

On Selecting the Wardrobe for Each Character:

 
Director Rose Riordan was also the costume designer for the production. She decided to take the actors to the stores their characters would actually shop at to select their costumes for the show.  
 

Learn more about the job shadowing process on November 14, when we present a Q&A with the Real Life Typographer, Geographer and Stenographer that our cast members job shadowed.
 
And it’s not too late to see the show!

The Typographer's Dream  runs now through Nov. 16

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