My role as Assistant Director for Spanish Rep’s “Noel Road 25: A genius like us”
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
by Timothy McHale
This Thursday and Friday are the last two performances of a play, in Spanish—Noel Road 25: A genius like us by Carlos Be – and I am its Assistant Director. I’m a Greeley graduate, now a sophmore in Marymount Manhattan College’s BFA Acting program.
My friend, Freddy Mancilla, graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in May. He and I were sitting in a café one day in May and Freddy noted that I spoke some decent Spanish (my mom, Francesca Hagadus, is a French and Spanish teacher at Bell). Freddy had received something called the Van Lier Directors Fellowship that allowed him two summers to direct a show at the Spanish Repertory Theatre, and he needed and Assistant Director. I told him that I’m his man, payment or no payment, and that to put this on my resumé would be amazing.
The play is about the deteriorating relationship between Joe Orton, the English playwright and author, and his collaborator and lover, Ken Halliwell. In August of 1967, when Orton was 34, the 41-year-old Halliwell killed Orton and then himself. There’s an opening monologue right after Halliwell has murdered Orton, then in the next scene they’re talking about writing a play together. Definitely adult content.
The show is in a small black-box theatre, I’d say about 130 seats. It’s at the Spanish Repertory Theatre, or Repertorio Español at 138 East 27th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues, and the play is performed in Spanish.
It was a great job. I was in charge of organizing props for the show. I also did some translating from time to time between our lighting designer (who spoke no Spanish) and Spanish Rep’s head of lighting, whose English was good, but needed some clarification from time to time.
Rehearsals ran sporadically, from early to mid July until about July 20, when we began rehearsing every day of the week,. The final week before the show was very stressful because we were only allowed to use the theatre for three days prior to the show. Spanish Rep is very busy and has a long season, so their theatre’s availability for outside rehearsal was very limited.
The program at my school notifies us of opportunities like this, but like most things in life, it’s up to us to be aggressive with them and pursue them. The fact that I met Freddy in October, and Freddy is three years my senior, is one of the great things about Marymount Manhattan College. I’ve started making connections all over the school, no matter what age the person may be. Freddy chose to be my friend, which in many schools is unheard of based on age. But a 19-year-old and a 22-year-old directed a show together and proved to everybody that age is just a number.
I made promotional youtube videos for the production and created a video of one of the characters of the play being interviewed, which is played on a projector halfway during the show.
Although my Spanish isn’t fluent (in school I concentrated more on French), I do understand everything being said to me in Spanish. And my Spanish has greatly improved as a result of being immersed in this production.
The first night of the production was Thursday August 9. I sat next to my mother for it. I could tell that she was really into it because when she enjoys theatre, she holds her hands in front of her face and begins to lean forward. At the end of the show, my mother turned to me and said, “That was wonderful. I’m so proud of you.” I proceeded to bawl my eyes out. It wasn’t sadness, rather it was a state of euphoria. I had gained the appreciation from my most important critic.
I am a proud Greeley Theatre alum. One day Chris Schraufnagel, or “Schrauf”, head of Greeley Theatre, said to me that acting is not fun. It is enjoyable, but the process is not fun. He’s absolutely right. To say that this entire process was fun would be simplistic. I enjoyed all of it completely and I thought that all of our hard work really produced some great results, but I didn’t have a smile on my face the entire time. It can get really stressful and frustrating sometimes, especially when you’re staying up late at these rehearsals trying to make sure that everything’s perfect for opening night.
Mind you, there were times in the week before opening night where we were running the full show (which is about an hour and 15 minutes, no intermission) twice in one rehearsal. It’s tough and sometimes you feel you really can’t take it anymore, but it’s all part of the process. I don’t think that there is an easy show out there. Or I’d put it this way: There’s no degree of easiness, just degrees of difficulty.
There are two performances of Noel Road 25: a genius like us remaining:
Thursday, August 16 at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, August 17 at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets are available at the door, and are $10, but I would recommend reserving them.
Timothy McHale, Class of 2011
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