Hi there, Evan Sesek here to bring you behind-the-scenes for the co-world premiere production of NORWAY by Samuel D. Hunter (in which I play the character of Andy). Just to give you some quick background info on myself, I started taking acting lessons when I was about six years old through ITY (later the Idaho Shakespeare Festival Drama School). So from a very young age I was running around the halls of Boise Contemporary Theater, dreaming to one day to be on that stage in a mainstage show.
Since then, I’ve interned and acted for the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, a two week conference in McCall, ID dedicated to developing new plays. I met Sam Hunter there and have seen two of his plays developed at the conference (I AM MONTANA, read in the 5X5 Reading Series in ’08, and IDAHO/DEAD IDAHO—another fantastic play). And for the past year and a half, I’ve been the Marketing Intern at BCT, so I’ve been working in the office, getting to know Matt Clark (director of NORWAY/BCT Artistic Director) and the rest of the awesome staff here. Then last year, I read in the 5X5 reading of NORWAY (then titled ATLASING SODOM). The title changed for a few reasons, but I often remember telling people about the play and thinking I was saying Atlas In Sodom (or some variation). NORWAY is much simpler, eh?
But enough about me, let’s talk about rehearsal, which just started this week. (January 3rd). On the first day, I met Clint Morris who plays my best friend in the play, Brent. He’s a cool dude and everyone is enjoying having him around. He actually grew up in a city in Georgia not too far away from NORWAY set designer Michael Baltzell (small world!).
Speaking of Mike, he showed us the set model (You can check out a picture of the set model here:http://img543.imageshack.us/i/photoexc.jpg/ ) Just a ¼ inch model to give a general idea of what the set will look like. Sam’s description in the script is: “The stage should look like a parking lot; paved asphalt…In back of the stage, a shiny baby grand piano—the only ‘beautiful’ part of an otherwise industrial looking stage.” I think it looks great and really fits Sam’s concept. It’s simple, bare bones, and really captures the desolation. It goes without saying that Mike is a great set designer (among other things, including director, technical director, and musician).
Then we went ahead and read the play. I think we’ve got a really good team assembled and it’s going to be an exciting process. Sam has already suggested some minor cuts and plans to rewrite a scene or two. From the few years I’ve worked with Sam at Seven Devils, he’s never been shy of rewrites and often would come in with several new pages a day—often whole scenes. The fact that we have three world premieres this year is exciting because the process is so cool and, also, not often done in Boise. The ability to have the writer in the room, providing insight into his vision for the play, and changing things to clarify or emphasize is fantastic and I hope it’s something we continue to do at BCT. (Check out a picture during rehearsal, with Sam rewriting, here: http://img826.imageshack.us/i/photo2ixo.jpg/)
Anyway, I’m super excited for this play and I can’t wait for everyone to see it. That’s all for now, I’ll check in with y’all in a few days. Also found out I’ll be in the reading of THE WHALE (also by Sam Hunter), which will take place next Monday (1/10) as part of the New Work Reading Series. It’s a funny, brutal play and you don’t want to miss it. –Evan