Anyone who has spent enough time in a theatre—whether on a creative team or as an actor—can attest to the speed with which relationships are forged and solidified in this world. They have to be. Theatre-making is highly emotional stuff, both onstage and off: actors have to dredge up deep emotions and then snap right back into ‘note-taking’ mode almost immediately, and as opening night approaches and to-do lists lengthen everyone is on edge. But somehow, good companies figure out how to support each other quickly.
BeFrank is one of those; in nearly three weeks of rehearsal things have become positively family-like around here. It’s difficult to sit in this rehearsal room and go ten minutes without hearing a ‘How are you doing today?’ or a ‘Do you need anything from me?’ coming from some direction or another. Maybe it’s still just my being smitten with general British politeness, but when someone is having a difficult morning and five separate people make a point to offer their support, or even just a coffee, you know you’re in a positive environment. Onstage, watching the cast work out ensemble work is so captivating, whether they’re working with Ben to get a vocal piece just right or discussing the timing of a certain transition. More than any theatre experience I’ve ever had, listening and respect are valued here. Of course, in a sense they have to be… with only a three week rehearsal period the work won’t be finished if that level of professionalism doesn’t exist. But this teamwork is more than professional. It’s friendly and, most importantly, fun.
I bring up these points not to bore you with the ins and outs of what is more than likely typical for many theatre companies, but rather because I think they dovetail nicely with our show itself. Audiences can always tell when actors (and, by extension, the teams behind the scenes) are connected to one another, and performances that lack those connections are disastrous in my experience, so genuine endearment is always valuable. But ‘The Point of No Return’, more so than many other works out there, thrives on these relationships. Protesters—driven together by necessity and shared goals—have no time to warm up to their allies and put their trust into virtual strangers. Neither do theatre-makers. We all have jobs to do and we are all passionate about telling a meaningful and important story. The trust and concern our cast have built together look real during the show because they are real. Everything goes smoothly behind the scenes (in theory… tech hasn’t happened yet!) because we all take the time to listen to each other and truly work as a team.
It’s a beautiful thing, really, and it’s making for a brilliant show. A show that opens in less than a week.
Stay tuned! Things are bound to get quite exciting around here…