Even though I have not been on a student schedule for quite a while, I still think of September as the beginning of a new year. Working in theater also makes me feel this way, especially as LCT3 begins its first full season in the Claire Tow Theater. The energy of a new season was palpable this week as the staff of Lincoln Center Theater and the cast and creative team of DISGRACED gathered for the first time for the official "meet and greet."
Even just walking into the rehearsal room felt fresh to me, even though my office had already moved into the new building in June. Though DISGRACED is the second LCT3 show to be in our new home, it is the first to rehearse in the space (SLOWGIRL rehearsed downstairs on the level of the Mitzi E. Newhouse while the Claire Tow Theater was still under construction.) Walking into the room, I saw familiar faces that had been absent from my world during the summer. Set designer Lauren Helpern said hello, and mentioned she'd be willing to do a video tour of the set she is creating. You can see her give a tour of the 4000 MILES set in a video we made together in the spring. Then there were all of the new faces I did not know, but hope to connect with at some point during the show, so stay tuned.
Then it was time for introductions. LCT Executive Producer Bernard Gersten welcomed everyone and spoke about how much he likes the rehearsal period. "This is the best part," he said. Andre Bishop, LCT Artistic Director, and LCT3 Artistic Director Paige Evans each said a few words about how excited we are to be producing this new play. The director, Kimberly Senior, spoke about the coincidence that DISGRACED - which has a Pakistani-American protagonist and explores issues confronting Muslim-Americans post 9/11 - was beginning rehearsals on September 11. This fact was certainly on my mind, but no one had yet mentioned it. Kimberly spoke about how DISGRACED lets issues bubble up, but does not answer the questions that it asks. She posed the question, "How do we talk about these difficult subjects in our art?" She explained that we can use our art to confront these issues, challenge them, and accept them, and DISGRACED invites us to do just that.
After the introductions, it was time to leave, and my feeling of "the first day of school" faded just a bit. But as we move through the rehearsal period and eventually get to first preview and eventually opening night, I think I will be calling every step "the best part."
Rebecca Leshin is the Digital Marketing Associate at Lincoln Center Theater. You can follow her on Twitter @LCTheater.