Founding Board Member Bruce Lynn shares his first impressions of Ulysses on Bottles from the First Rehearsal / Meet & Greet.
I’ve never been to a first rehearsal/read through of a new theater production before. It was easy to find the Emerson Paramount Performance Center at 555 Washington Street by the huge, lighted sign over the theater next door. When I walked into Studio 7, I encountered a room filled with more than 30 people for the first rehearsal of Ulysses on Bottles, an award winning play by Israeli playwright, Gilad Evron. I recognized the actors in the cast sitting at a large square table, a few fellow board and advisory board members, a handful of our wonderful supporters, our terrific presenting partners from ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage, two actors who performed in other Israeli Stage productions (but guests at this event), and some friends of Guy Ben-Aharon, the Found and Producing Artistic Director of Israeli Stage. But who were the other 20+ people sitting at the table and in seats surrounding it, who seemed to know so many people in the room?
This is what it means to mount a stage production! And what more at Emerson College. A lighting director, assistant lighting director, production manager, assistant director, set designer, sound designer and even a member of the cast were faculty and some were students at Emerson College, all supporting Guy, an Emerson alum, who is directing this production. The set designer gave a presentation showing some examples of where he gained inspiration and how a set can convey a sense of profound aloneness that will reach out and almost literally touch the audience. The sound designer played recordings of experiments he had conducted that would blend with the stage setting to create a new reality that is Ulysses on Bottles. I never imagined how much thought and collaboration goes into lighting. Who knew how Israeli sunlight differs from Egyptian sunlight. He did!
Lastly, I hear the cast do their first reading through of the script. How they were able to bottle (in this case, pun intended) so much emotion, to interrupt each other in heated, back-and-forth arguments, just as I image the Gilad Evron imagined when he wrote the words — on the first read through? I can’t wait to see all of these elements come together in the full production next month! And I know I’ll be spending more time at the theater in the future admiring the set designs, the sound, and the lighting base on this experience on the 4th floor in Studio 7.