Actor Durwood Murray on
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST
As I write this, we are a few short days away from going into tech rehearsals — undoubtedly, the most arduous portion of any production’s process. This is the point in the show where actors usually gauge their level of confidence in the show. It’s right about this time when actors either begin boasting to our friends . . . or we conveniently forget to mention that we’re even in a show so as to save ourselves the inevitable embarrassment.
Right now, with this cast and this crew and this company, I am definitely in a bragging mood. I’m telling my friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers about this show. Don’t get me wrong — we still have a lot of work to do, but I have all the confidence in the world that when you finally see us on that stage, you will see a show that you won’t soon forget. I’ve never seen a group of actors more eager at the beginning of a rehearsal process — eager to learn lines, eager to research and analyze the play, and eager to take direction from the gifted Claudio Raygoza.
We have such a talented cast, from award winners, to San Diego theatre veterans, to some of San Diego’s best kept secrets and newcomers. When you have so much talent working so hard and so well together, the result is an awe-inspiring experience. I’m writing this with a sore body (fight choreography) and a weary mind (“Why does my character say this now?”), but, in all honesty, I can’t wait for tomorrow’s rehearsal.
This production has been a unique experience for me. CUCKOO’S NEST takes place in a mental hospital, and I have someone in my life who suffers from mental illness. She was, at one point, very close to me, and, in fact, her mental illness is the reason why we are no longer as close as we once were. We were together for nearly three years, until she felt that she could no longer burden me with her issues. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t convince her that nothing about her was a burden to me. I loved her so unconditionally, and I couldn’t understand why she didn’t realize it. I eventually figured out that her decision to end our relationship was a result of her extraordinary love for me.
Every rehearsal of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST reminds me of her and what we once were. I have simultaneous feelings of joy and grief, which help me create these beautiful, tragic, funny, and intense moments on stage. The memories are painful to relive, but they help me to embody my character fully and present him in the most honest way possible. That’s all I could ever hope for with any character I play. These memories are what fuel the best performance of my acting career so far.
The Foundry lost one of its most dedicated artists last week with the passing of Bill Limbeck.
Portrait of William Limbeck by former Foundry Artist Rita Pacheco
Bill was a gifted yet humble artist and a genuinely likeable human being. He was always willing to help out around the theatre or just to warm your day with a smile. He has been a regular fixture in the studios for the last few years, and we feel his absence keenly. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this time of transition.
We would love for you to share your memories of Bill with us by leaving a comment.
“I told her I was plain spoken and said exactly what I felt and people will just have to take me as I am or leave me alone…” -Jessie Mae
Every character in The Trip to Bountiful is searching for something better. Some are just more vocal than others. Jessie Mae is definitely not shy about what she wants in life.
“I didn’t start livin’ until I moved to the city. Who but a fool would want to live in the country?”
Jessie Mae is like your favorite girlfriend. She’s always game for a laugh at the soda fountain. To the infamous “does this dress make me look fat?” question, she’ll reliably answer: “You look wonderful,” but if you look for it, you’ll see the telltale eye twitch that belies her true opinion. She wears her emotions on her sleeve, her fashionable, perfectly-pressed sleeve. Jessie Mae is a go-getter, an ambitious woman, if she was the breadwinner of the family, she’d be running the whole town after a month. As it is, Texas in the 1940s, she sends her husband off to work and then splits their tiny apartment with her mother-in-law Mrs. Watts. The tension builds between the two strong-willed women, Jessie Mae trying to assert her claim over the household, while her mother-in-law Mrs. Watts tries to figure out how to find her place in a house that is not her own.
Yolanda Franklin plays Jessie Mae in THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL // previews are February 1-8 // don’t miss Horton Foote’s excellent play running February 9-March 3 at NVA.
Janell Cannon is the scenic designer for THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL. The play is set in the 1940′s, and so therefore, is the set. The play’s main character visits her hometown of Bountiful, Texas many years past its prime. Janell takes us through the step-by-step process of weathering boards for the Texas Farmhouse that has seen better days.
From here on, you’re reading Janell’s notes on her process:
We are pretty much recycling everything from stuff in storage to build the Bountiful set. Gathered these slats that will be the weathered siding of an old farm house…
Figured out that I could drag a raggedy brush along each plank with a dark concentrated pigment and get a basic wood grain.
Then I smoothed it out and got more gradation by polishing the pigments down with a damp smooth brush.
Add your comment below and tell us what you think! THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL runs Feb 9 – March 3, and previews Feb 1-8.
The TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL is all about one woman’s quest to make it home before she dies. For Carrie Watts – the character in BOUNTIFUL – home is definitely a place, a specific stretch of land called Bountiful, in Texas. So it got me thinking about what Home means to me. Where would I call Home? I was born in Minnesota, moved to Nebraska, then Iowa, and now California (and yes, this week is cold in CA!) For people who’ve left the place they grew up, is Home a place, is it a feeling? Does everyone have a place they call home? Is it always happy, or can it have a different feeling? Is it always a place, or is it a person or group of people – an animal – a season, a possession?
For me Home is a couple of things. I immediately think of my grandma’s house in Minnesota, near Lake Johanna (a marker when we were little that told us we finally were “there yet”) it’s cozy with wood floors and weird blue carpet and life-size moose sock-puppets, and board games and puzzles, and the fancy living room and the comfy one. It has pictures of my mom and my aunts when they were teenagers, the memories of family Christmases and of course, it has that smell.
Leaving this house was really hard when we were little, but luckily my mom was an expert at creating traditions. Which leads to another piece of Home that I have: driving home from my grandma’s house with my mom, dad, older brother, and younger sister. The three of us kids were crammed in the back seat, alternately sleeping on, and elbowing each other throughout the 4-hour car ride from Minneapolis to Des Moines. Then finally, we’d take our exit off the freeway and round the corner on the home stretch to 2741 Lynner Drive, and my mom would magically – at the perfect moment – cue up this specific song on the cassette player, and turn the volume all the way up so the sound filled the car, and we’d all sing it, well the chorus at least, at the top of our lungs, and I was filled with this — energy – this feeling of sheer joy and power that I still can’t quite describe. It was like the final moments of the race in Chariots of Fire. And we’d know we were almost there… we were Home. It was practically a Pavlovian response. With one song, my mom turned this dismal stretch of strip-mall parking lots, coated with dirty melting snow, into something exhilarating! All of a sudden Home was an event, a celebration — I’ll never forget that feeling. So, what was the song? I have no idea. I just know that it felt awesome. I googled “epic power ballad” for hours, trying in vain to re-capture my youth. I texted my little sister to find out and she didn’t even know what I was talking about. I wrote it off thinking she could’ve been too young to remember. Was this my home? A synth-pop-ballad-infused stretch of road in an Aries K station wagon, sometime in the 80s, that no one else remembers? And if so, how am I supposed to get back there? If I found the song again, would it bring back the same feeling? Would I even recognize it?
It seems I’m back where I started, with a question: what is Home, and more importantly, where?
Now it’s your turn! Tell us your stories about Home. What gives you that feeling of familiarity or whatever the sensation is – that earns the title Home? Leave a comment below with what Home means to you and we’ll choose one winner to receive 2 free tickets to Opening Night of THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL on February 9th at 8pm.
Learn more about THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL, February 9 – March 3 // previews Feb 1 – Feb 8