By Jake Russell Thompson, Coriolanus team member and Voices Found co-founder
As the co-founder with the most free time I’m wearing many hats, so to speak. As I write this post, I balance an assistant director fedora (but like, a cool one), social media Newsie cap, and a marketing director fez. My Coriolanus reference playlist is on in the background so I can try to find a transition song for the final scene of the show; my sound designer baseball hat hangs off of my right ear. After this post is done my plan is to spend about an hour learning my lines, so I’ll have to see if I left actor hat in my car. I can’t seem to find it, which is weird considering how easy it should be to notice:
Playing a constant game of high-stakes dress up means I have to approach each hat and its duties in ways that don’t feel conventional. I am for the most part self-taught, which is a fun challenge to overcome. The idea that something should be done a certain way is based on the experiences of everyone who’s tried it differently, so finding my way — and ultimately the Voices Found way — to put on a show is sort of like putting together a Lego X-Wing kit.
The pieces that come in the box are more or less standard issue. We could just start slapping them together, but people have been assembling these Lego kits for decades. Their experiments both successful and failed have assembled not only the X-Wings that inspired us in the first place, but the manual to help us build our own. But we were also the kids who grew up playing with big tubs of random Legos, building original spaceships freeform. To stick hard and fast to an instruction manual feels, at least to me, just a bit too limiting, meaning the challenge is to build a X-Wing that feels like my own, while following the guidance and wisdom of the manual.
So to sum up, before my metaphors get too far away from me: Voices Found Repertory is a new company of hat jugglers and Lego enthusiasts who want to honor the art that’s inspired us by making our own, exploring how things “should be done” with how we want to do them. We fix our mistakes as a team, and accelerate through chaos stronger for it. Speaking from my own experience, I’m learning my craft(s) in new, intimate ways that have challenged, humbled, and invigorated me.
And it turns out I left my actor hat in my rehearsal duffle bag, with my kneepads and cue script. Who knew?
Coriolanus will play during the third and fourth weekend of October, 2016 at the Arcade Theatre. Buy tickets here, and subscribe to our blog to follow the production and get updates on what we’re working on!
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