Hi! I am Molly Tynes from the cast of the upcoming production of "Pippin" at the American Repertory Theater. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be blogging about our rehearsal process and giving you an inside look into the creation of this exciting new production!
This version of "Pippin" will be very special because of the unique and fresh approach our director, Diane Paulus, and the rest of the artistic team are taking. Our choreographer, the legendary Chet Walker, is paying homage to much of the original iconic choreography by Bob Fosse (my absolute favorite choreographer – so a real treat for me!). Additionally Gypsy Snider, of Les 7 Doigts de la Main is incorporating stunning circus elements into the show that will help to tell the story in a new way and to create an enchanting and often seemingly dangerous world in which The Players perform death-defying feats with ease and finesse.
I have the privilege of getting to participate in both of these worlds! The company has started calling me the "crossover player," because I am at times grouped with the dancer/singers and at other times with the acrobats (I am performing some aerial elements in the show). It has been amazing so far switching back and forth between Fosse rehearsals with Chet and his assistant Brad Musgrove and circus training with Gypsy and the acrobats in our cast. As the weeks progress, we will all get to learn elements of both worlds and meld them together.
Already in the first week we have made some serious headway! We have learned most of the score with our amazing music director, Charlie Alterman and music supervisor, Nadia DiGiallonardo. We have also started piecing together a couple of the larger production numbers, and Diane has spent some valuable one-on-one time with the principals exploring their characters and the script.
For those unfamiliar with "Pippin," all of the characters in the show belong to a traveling troupe of players. As an acting exercise, Diane gave us homework to create and then present the "back stories" of our individual players – where did we come from, why did we join the troupe, etc. There were certain requirements and a given structure to the assignment, but it was also very open to individual interpretation. On Friday, we were given the opportunity present our "homework" to the rest of the company. This was by far the highlight of the week. I was so impressed by the level of creativity, commitment, and trust that our entire cast showed in these presentations. People did everything from pizza twirling to knife throwing to performing wrapped head to toe in saran wrap. After watching all of that I can honestly say that this group of performers is one of the most talented, versatile, and special groups with whom I have ever had the privilege of sharing the stage. I am so excited to see what the weeks ahead will bring. I know that we are creating a truly special show, and I can't wait for all of you to see it!
Here are some photos from week one of rehearsals. There will be many more to come!
Molly Tynes rehearsing on the cerceau (aerial hoop)
Rachelle Rak decked out in full costume for her "homework" presentation
Philip Rosenberg and Greg Arsenal rehearsing on canes