My name is Cody Estle and I am assistant directing the world premiere of The Detective’s Wife by Keith Huff, directed by Gary Griffin and starring Barbara Robertson in the role of Alice Conroy. The Detective’s Wife is a new work and one of the most fascinating aspects of this rehearsal process is that the play is still evolving. Having the playwright in the rehearsal room is a unique experience that adds to the overall collaborative process.
While workshopping The Detective’s Wife this past October, playwright Keith Huff stated, “Theatre doesn’t work if you don’t engage.” Audience engagement is especially essential for this piece. Too often in one-character plays, audiences feel as if they are being talked at for an hour and a half instead of being invited into the world of the play. Currently, we are learning the wants and needs of the play. Not surprisingly, one of its main wants is an audience. Director Gary Griffin has said from the outset that the play must be about the audience and their time with our one character, Alice. Since this piece requires a higher than normal level of character/audience intimacy and engagement, Gary requested that a few individuals sit in during the beginning of every rehearsal. We have had guests coming in and out of rehearsal all week and this has helped tremendously. Not only does it provide actress Barbara Robertson with an audience with which she can connect but also it allows Keith and Gary to see what does and doesn’t work. After our gracious audience members leave, we take what we have discovered and apply it to the play.
Barbara is fascinating to watch and I often find myself getting lost in her delivery of Keith’s words. She is a perfectionist in the best way possible. On Tuesdays and Thursdays she is kind enough to give me a ride to rehearsal. During our commute, I help her run lines. She said to me, “I want to be not only word perfect but punctuation perfect.” She truly values every comma and period within Keith’s text. Her performance is one you won’t want to miss.
Performances begin May 24th!