Reporting from First Rehearsal of The Call

I have been procrastinating, avoiding and downright refusing to blog for years. But with a new year, a new blog and a new show in rehearsal, 2015 seems like the time to get over my trepidation about sharing in such a public forum.

Last Monday was the start of the rehearsal process for The Call, a new play by Tanya Barfield. I read the script a few times during the season planning process last season, so I wasn’t expecting to be as moved by the first read as I was. Something about hearing it out loud made it much more resonant for me.

TheCall at Playwrights Horizons

Playwrights Horizons’ 2013 production of The Call. Kelly AuCoin, Eisa Davis, Crystal A. Dickinson, Kerry Butler. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

When Tessa Klein, as Annie, lashes out with “Three years of drugs, of doctors – my body /lost babies” my eyes well-up with tears. Not because it’s an experience I have experience with personally, but because through Tessa’s vulnerable but resilient voice, I could feel what she must be feeling.

In grappling with America’s relationship with Africa – the devastating impact of AIDS, the overwhelming poverty, the experience of being an American tourist and volunteer – the reading also stirs up my own conflicted feelings about my time as a volunteer in Ghana. I was there for a week to help repair schools and attempt to promote safe sex and education to high school students. Although it was an amazing experience for me, I am sure I got more good out of it than anyone in Ghana. Just the amount of money I spent to get there could have done far more for the students in Ghana than I managed to do.

I have a feeling that every time I see this relatively compact play that manages to dive into so many issues, it’s going to bring up different feelings for me. Director Shirley Serotsky kept saying in her remarks that this is a “story for our modern times,” and indeed it feels that way to me – relevant in ways I hadn’t even expected.

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