And as May begins, and Star Wars news and memories of the original trilogy are flooding my brainwaves, I've began to immerse myself in the world of the Scottish Play - er, Macbeth at Fort Point. This is a production that is being mounted by We Players, for the second year in a row. I got to witness last year's production, and I was mesmerized and inspired. Artistic Director Ava Roy and co-director John Hadden turned Fort Point into a character of it's own, and turned the play into a spectacle full of sound and fury - yet signifying much more than I had anticipated.
Rehearsals began in earnest last week, with a day-long walk-through of the site, including physical and character work. The walls of this fortress already speak so much history and secrets to me, so I've found myself calling the Fort my home very quickly. If you've never been to the Fort, you've probably been made aware of it through movies like Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo."
The challenge of working in this space as an actor, is to be heard. And it's not just a matter of raising my voice to shout. There are many elements at play here: the never-ceasing wind; the fog, the Golden Gate Bridge overhead, with it's constant traffic noise; even the foghorn, with it's ghostly sound, playing at intervals. No, the biggest challenge will be to communicate my intentions and project my voice on breath. Within ten minutes of rehearsing my first scene, my voice was nearly gone. The audience will also have to have their ears tuned very acutely, as they will need to pay attention closely to what they are listening to. There were actors who I couldn't hear at all when I saw the show last year. I know what I'm in for. I'll be drinking a lot of hot tea, too.
Last weekend the cast gathered together for it's very first read-through of the play. We have many actors who are returning from last year. Myself and several other actors are making their debut with We Players. The greatest thing I've come to appreciate so far is the company's relationship with the Park Service, and how much effort has been put into sustaining that. We have unprecedented access to the Fort that the public does not get to see, and we get to treat the Fort with respect and an appreciation.
I've certainly been feeling lucky to have this opportunity to participate; and even luckier to know that I'm working with a company that is pushing the envelope higher while the topic of "site-integrated" has been the focus of much conversation in the theatre community. Last year, American Theatre published an article that featured We Players. It's worth reading for the focus it puts on several productions, notably the New York production of Punchdrunk's Sleep No More, which I have seen twice.
Don't miss this production, which should prove to be a sellout after the attention the production got last year.
Tickets are currently available through the We Players website here.
May 30, 31 & June 1 - Previews June 5 - Opening Night June 29 - Closing Night
Plays Thursday - Sundays at 7p Fort Point, San Francisco