Fresh off of opening night of Little Shop of Horrors, we made our way up to the Nelson Rehearsal Hall to celebrate our very last first rehearsal of the 2018-19 Season; the last one of my internship here. I was filled with excitement to hear what the reputably profound director Brian Mertes would have in store for this captivating piece.
As people filled the room, I saw many familiar faces from throughout our season, both acting company members and returning guest artists. However, there were a few new faces to me, though the theater has been abuzz with their names all season. Mia Ellis, a resident acting company member, has been keeping herself busy all season, working in DC, LA, and nearly everywhere in between. Eugene Lee, the gifted resident designer here at Trinity Rep designed the set for Marisol, presenting alongside his assistant Patrick Lynch, another familiar-faced guest artist at Trinity Rep. Eugene Lee’s set design is gorgeous, haunting, and filled with potential.
Brian Mertes shared a few words about his excitement for the process, telling us how eager and honored he is to have everyone in the room working together to bring this show to life. Artistic Director Curt Columbus reflected on the previous classics that Brian Mertes has directed at Trinity Rep over the years, such as The Glass Menagerie, Steel Magnolias, and Appropriate. With Brian Mertes at the helm, this show is sure to be fascinating and riveting.
Brian introduced two members of the creative team working on this project; Cait O’Connor and Ashley Frith. Cait is the costume designer for the production. She showed us the beautiful inspiration behind the costumes, from intricate artwork to modern fashion to paper machete crowns she made herself. Seeing her eclectic style in the costumes is sure to be one of the thrills of the show.
Ashley Frith is a local musician, composer, and teacher. For this particular production, Brian Mertes is finding inspiration in operatic music and asked Ashley to compose original music to accompany the show. She presented an excerpt from one of her songs and we were blown away by the gorgeously haunting melody that perfectly encapsulates the essence of this play. Ashley and Brian working together will create a fantastic soundscape to accompany this fascinating production.
Supported by all of this creativity in the room, I am so thrilled to see this cast rise to the occasion. Acting company members Mia Ellis, Joe Wilson, Jr., Brian McEleney, Mauro Hantman, Charlie Thurston, and Angela Brazil are going to breathe so much life onto this stage along with cast members Octavia Chavez-Richmond and Jackie Davis. Though the world is ending in this story, the process is just beginning; and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for this production of Marisol.