Associate Director Sofia Lindgren Galloway writes about the rehearsal process:
Things are really starting to ramp up for us in rehearsals! We’re at that point where you feel like there’s so much to do and not enough time at all. Lucky for me, this is one of my favorite times in rehearsals, because we all have to start being very decisive. In my opinion, we're on the cusp of the most magical phase of rehearsals! Yippee!
I am so happy to be back with Collective Unconscious as David’s Associate Director, after assisting him and stage managing the sleeping beauty in the wood last winter! “What, exactly, is an associate director, Sofia? What do you do?” Oh, well, thanks for asking. I basically get to be David’s sous chef! He delegates tasks to me that make up the bigger meal. Like, sometimes I just prepare the sauce, and sometimes I make an entire appetizer. Also, I get to taste test everything before it leaves the kitchen - it’s delightful!
Pictured (L-R): Performers Logan Verdoorn, Emily Zimmer, and Sarah Dewhirst.
I’ve had the privilege of being with this story for a few months as and active collaborator and an outside observer. Last spring, a handful of us gathered to read several variations of the “Thousandfur” fairy tale. We also read some scholarly criticism of the most famous versions (I HIGHLY suggest the article “But Who Are You Really?” by Margaret R. Yocom, published in this book).
I could have stayed in that reading group forever. We cozied up in David and Leif’s living room, drank wine, and talked about the role this story could have in our lives and in the lives of the audience. Then, I was out of the picture for the workshop and rejoined the process once rehearsals started. I read the first and last drafts of the script, and everything in between was a mystery! At the first reading, I was so sad that some of my favorite ingredients from the reading group stories were gone! (Curse those workshop participants!) But, as we’ve been working, I’ve found that I can’t even remember those little nuggets because I’m so invested in this version of the story. That’s the beauty of making art. It is so freeing to fall in love with an idea, and then release it into the world without knowing if you’ll ever get back to it. Some of my favorite things didn’t fit in this story, yet I still love this script.
Speaking of the script- YA’LL… IT. IS. SO. GOOD. It is everything you want from a princess story that you can’t get as an adult watching Disney movies (because of all that pesky sexism and stuff)! It’s got all the awkward romance, silly animals, and fairy tale magic you expect. But, the primary female character makes decisions, and doesn’t always get what she wants, and everyone gets to be smart, and flawed, and face real challenges, and… well… all the things that make a good story! As a kid and young woman, I totally rejected the fairy tale princess fantasy. I didn’t want to subscribe to that patriarchal crap (I was an intense 10 year old). But I wonder if there had been more stories like this one, maybe I would have liked princesses a bit more… I guess you’ll have to come and let me know if you agree. Reservations for SKINS can be made here, and more information about the Minnesota Fringe Festival can be found here - we hope to see you there!
7/5/2017 0 Comments
When David approached me to adapt the fairy tale known as Thousandfurs, I immediately said yes. Growing up with two sisters, we were obsessed with the picture book Princess Furball, about the clever princess who escapes an arranged marriage with the help of three dresses, a fur cloak, and her wits. The latter of these has always appealed to me. Here’s an actual fairy tale where the princess has agency and takes it upon herself to change her future.
Before starting the script, David put together a reading/research group, or book club if you will, of actors, playwrights, dramaturgs, and other collaborators. We read the different versions of the story as well as criticism, and collectively determined how we wanted to tell this tale. For the most part, all versions depicted the princess the same – full of determination, intellect, and capable of deciding her own life. However, once the princess met the prince/king (it varies from version to version), that agency disappears or transforms into an eagerness to be noticed by the regal figure and marry him, thus securing the traditional “happily ever after” life. As a group, the more we discussed this, the less satisfying it was to us, so when I set out to write the script, it was one of the main questions I was grappling with: what does our princess’s happy ending look like? Or better yet, strip away the trappings of fairy tale, and what does she really want?
In the spring, we met again with an early version of the script for a weekend with actors. Over the course of the three days, we read and discussed it, determined to get at the heart of the story. Under David’s direction, the actors devised moments inspired by the text including ballroom scenes and a chase-escape through the forest. By observing and listening to these talented actors, I started to see the story emerge and how our princess would be best served by the text. I went back home and started to write again with a clearer and stronger idea of what would be a more satisfying ending for our modern-day princess (for that’s truly what she is).
As the cast began rehearsals last week, I’m excited to see how the play continues to grow and a change. One of my favorite things about working with David and Collective Unconscious is the hyper-collaborative environment and nature of all their pieces. As a writer, I find this thrilling. My words are only a blueprint, or jumping off place for designers, director, and actors to fill in the gaps. I’m eager to see what direction the play takes next, and look forward to seeing the final product in August.