Sunday, October 9, 2011



Sunday October 2nd, 2011 Bradley University closed it's production of Ragtime. This was more than just a show that a group of us worked on, but an experience we all shared. This was evident in the tearful, sniffly last notes we sang in the epilogue. Our director and choreographer paid special attention to the inner workings of the Ensemble. The challenge laid out before us the first day of rehearsal was to be 'the most gracious and generous cast'. In many ways I believe we rose to his challenge. Naturally, we had minor problems throughout the process, but in the end, we achieved our goal.

The story of Ragtime is a hard one to not care about. It has a lot of strong characters and story lines that you are bound to find one to relate to. The themes explored are ones that are still applicable to today...perhaps even more. The ideas of looking past the outward appearance and our own preconceived notions of each other and recognizing that we are all the same, rather than an 'other', empowering one another to achieve our dreams and forgiveness are just a few themes that are explored throughout the show. While there are many sad and heartbreaking moments, the show has a hopeful tone, that one day we will be able to overcome the things that keep us apart.

What touched my heart the most about working on this project was just how much we cared about each other. Many of us did jobs that was outside of what we normally do as actors and backstage crew, and went above and beyond to make sure the show ran smoothly. The more we ran through the show, the more we learned each others pathways and were then able to page a curtain, help with a quick change, grab a prop, or take someone's line if they didn't make an entrance. Not only actors, but design team went the extra mile. I know they met outside of normal rehearsal hours to make sure everything looked and sounded perfect. And more than just picking up where someone needed help, it was done with humility. HOW FREAKING AMAZING IS THAT! Above all, everything that we needed to do to protect and serve the story and our audience, was done. This is the type of theatre that I love and want to work on FOREVER.

The best part of this process was the new friendships that blossomed and the strengthening of old friendships...the artistic empowerment to create and the obsession we all had with this show.

Just like that tune,
Simple and clear,
I've come to hear
New music-
Breaking my heart,
Op'ning a door,
Changing the world!
New music!
Hear it forevermore!

It was the music
Of something beginning,
An era exploding,
A century spinning
In riches and rags,
And in rhythm and rhyme.
The people called it Ragtime...

Tommy Rapley, the choreographer and I

Reunion with two members of our Once On this Island cast! Note: OOTI and Ragtime were written by the same people!

No comments:

Post a Comment