Last night, the cast and crew of Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play put together our first full run of the show. During this run, I got to talk to a member of the Rambler staff (Transy's campus newspaper) and I was asked what I thought made this show stand out from previous shows that Transy has performed. There are some obvious answers related directly to the play itself: fight scenes, dance numbers, huge choral pieces. This show draws on nearly every form of spectacle and employs it in a creative way.
However, on further reflection, this play is unique in the way that it has created a team. Though I would say that the passion we bring to our work is a hallmark of Transy shows, Mr. Burns is something entirely new. I have been part of lot of productions in my four years at Transy, and I have never had the privilege of working with a creative team of people who are each brimming with excitement and energy for this show.
Every single individual has completely devoted themselves to this endeavor — whether they're a cast member or a designer or an assistant stage manager. This makes work a pure joy as we rehearse and build the show. There's a different kind of energy that fills a room when everyone is focused and excited. And that creates an electric kind of feeling (not bad for a post-electric play...)
Charlotte Stephens and Aaron Botts study for rehearsal of Mr. Burns.
This isn't to say that it isn't still work. Three weeks out from the show, we're all moving at a breakneck pace to make sure the final product is fully realized and something that we're proud of. Our run last night was an exhausting marathon. But the difference is that, even while we were collapsing and running out of breath, we still have so much fun. As soon as we left the theater, we were still collecting to excitedly discuss the show — what we had done, the potential for what we can do. (Frankly, if you see any of the cast or crew together in the next few weeks, we're 100% discussing Mr. Burns.
To me, that is what is so unique and thrilling about this show. We have a group of people (some of whom have never done theater here before) who are all brimming with excitement for the production and eager to do whatever it takes to make this show everything it can be. To me, it's amazing to have a cast willing to do a three hour rehearsal and then spend the next two hours together to discuss our characters, adding deeper layers to this already nuanced show. It's amazing to to be around people who will work themselves to exhaustion and still be so enthusiastic about this amazing piece of theater.
This is what makes Transy's production of Mr. Burns special. And if the audience can see even a fraction of the joy that fills the members of our cast and crew, they'll love this show as much as I do.