|Stephanie Gularte -- and costumes for Lulu and Oswaldo|
Aleccia shared some great tidbits with the group. We learned the play has an autobiographical element. Like Pops' son, Guirgis moved in with his ailing father to care for him. When he needed help, some of his friends pitched in. The character of the drug-dealing Oswaldo is based--loosely--on one of Guirgis' own buddies.
Guirgis' description of the set makes it clear the apartment is another character in the play. No "pre-war apartment on Upper West Side" for Giurgis. He tells readers of the play -- and the production team -- that the formerly beautiful apartment has fallen into disrepair since the death of Pops' wife. "Still, the place retains dignity and charm, "Guirgis wrote, "And the comforting aroma of decades of pot roasts and chicken dinners...It's a rent-controlled palace ruled by a grieving despot King."
|Jarid Fox on the set|
To say the team is making the best use of the available space is putting it mildly. The wall with the bookshelves will drop down and become Pops' bedroom. On the other side of the set a rooftop will be created where characters will go to dream about the future.
The topper, though, is a 20' revolving turntable with the kitchen on one side and the living room on the other. This portion of the set will revolve not mechanically, but through "apprentice power." With the assistance of a marine wench, Donovan Whitley will turn the 1200-1800 pound set by heaving on a thick rope. Somehow, Whitley is also playing Oswaldo.
Ismail has also taken on the role of sound designer for the show, which he calls "a nuanced part of the storytelling." The music will reflect Pops' point of view -- think 70s funk-- but Ismail also wants to tip his hat to today. So in the transitions between scenes, the audience will hear "Picking Up the Pieces" by Average White Band and "Have You Seen Her?" by The Chi-lites. (The latter is a song Guirgis requires to be included.) But we'll also hear current music like "I Like It" by Cardi B, a song Ismail suggested everyone has heard on the radio. (Obviously, he lost track of his demographics for a minute!)
The session was a great primer for Between Riverside and Crazy, which runs from October 3 -- November 4. Each performance includes a prologue 30 minutes prior to showtime for those interested in hearing a bit more about the play. For information and tickets, click here. I can't wait.