The Big Meal begins previews tonight!
I've been remiss in putting up some of my blog posts, as I've done some readings and had wonderful things happen with I and You, but first I want to give an update on my current venture!
We're heading into previews for the next show I'm in, which is The Big Meal at San Jose Rep. Tonight is pay what you can preview night, and we open on the 14th. Go here for the full schedule and here to buy tickets!
First of all, I just have to say that this production has such an amazing group of actors, and on day one of rehearsal, I once again found myself excited and overwhelmed by the talent in the room. It's like the first day of school if your entire class was made up of some of the most talented actors in the Bay Area. Seriously, watching everyone do their jobs in this play is like eating chocolate. It feels indulgent and I just don't want to stop.
I have a major obsession with this play. It's one of those things that feels like fate or something. Here's why: I was in New York a couple of years ago, and by crazy circumstance, I was able to see the Playwrights Horizon production. It went like this: I was walking down the street in NYC with my dear friend Mah (who is in this right now opening around the country, and which you should see if you can), and I was trying desperately to remember a play about eating or something that I'd like to try to see before I left. And we walked past Playwrights Horizons. And I was like, "Hey, Big Meal. Maybe that's the name?" And just then, someone knocked on the window of the lobby from inside. It was a friend of Mah's who was house manager; they had just had a group cancel. The show would have been sold out, but now there was room -- would we like to see it? HIGH FIVE HELL YES! So we went in pretty unprepared for what was about to happen: a laugh and cry fest that left us gasp-sobbing by the end of the show. I mean those kinds that you can't stop yourself from being loud, which is kind of awkward in a tiny space like Playwrights Horizons. Afterwards, Mah said one of the cast members was like, "Oh, were you two the crazy crying ladies in the front? Whoa. You were loud." Embarrassing.
So as soon as I saw this was in the San Jose Rep season, I was on a mission. I am so ecstatic to be a part of this play that has continued to affect me each time I sit down to read it. Dan LeFranc, the playwright, has written very simple scenes that make it easy to recognize yourself in each of the characters.
You immediately think, "Oh, that's totally what my family is like."
"That's exactly what my mom does."
"I always fought with my sister like that."
However, he's written it in a complex, theatrical, time skipping way that makes this play not just about family (in its best and worst versions), but about how quickly the time goes. Generations of a family portrayed within the span of 90 minutes definitely gives you a sense of the fleeting nature of time. Value every minute, kids.
Even though we're already in previews, I'm going to keep writing posts about rehearsals and process and stuff during the run to encourage people to come out and see it. For this first one, though, I just want to link to the playwright's own words about why he wrote the play and how it came about. Thanks to Karen, the dramaturg at San Jose Rep, for the great interview!