Rebecca Noon is the Community Engagement Coordinator of Trinity Rep, and runs the Prologue program.
Last year at Trinity Rep we started a new program called Prologues. Thirty minutes before the house opens (6:30 pm/1:00 pm) an actor gives a prepared talk offering insights into the production, the history of the play, the playwright, and their own personal story.
After the first rehearsal, the Artistic Management Intern and I select which actor we’ll ask to deliver the Prologue. We never ask someone who’s in the first scene because that would be unfair to their pre-show prep. When there are only two actors in a show (like last year’s production of The Mountaintop) we invite community experts and researchers into the process (as we did for The Mountaintop by bringing in Val Tutson and Rochel Coleman from RI Black Storytellers).
Once rehearsals start, the Artistic Management Intern, the actor, and I start meeting. First we talk about big themes we know we’ll include — who is the playwright? The director? What are the major production elements people will want to hear about? What are the reasons that Trinity Rep is producing this play right now? Most importantly we hear from the actor, who always has thoughts and insights that we could never know.
As of this writing, the rehearsals for Into the Breeches! by George Brant have just begun, and so this year’s Artistic Management Intern, Braxton Crewell and I have just started meeting with this show’s Prologue-giver, Lynette Freeman, who is playing “Ida.” Lynette is not a company member or an MFA student, but also is not new to the Trinity Rep stage. As a member of the Brown/Trinity class of 2009, Lynette was in A Raisin in the Sun, Paris by Night, and Cabaret while she was a student. Since then, she’s been hard at work in NYC as a storyteller who uses her chosen mediums of acting, dance, and writing to reflect and celebrate human experience.
Coming to the Prologue for Into the Breeches! will give you insight into many related topics, including, but not limited to:
● George Brant, playwright
● How WWII brought more women into the workforce
● Social progress in terms of race, gender and sexual orientation, in the 40’s and today
● What Shakespeare offers contemporary storytelling
● Traditions of gender-crossing in Shakespeare
● Tyler Dobrowsky, director
I hope you get a chance to check out the Prologue for Into the Breeches! I guarantee Lynette is going to be a fun person to share 30 minutes with before she wows you during the show.