On our first day of The Years Between at Musical Theatre Factory, we began with one circle of chairs in the space. We sat together: Shakina, the awesome cast, the creative team and myself. Although we would have different roles to play in the days to come, in that moment, we were all artists and friends. Some people had never before stepped foot in the factory, I myself am a relative newbie, but I think we all became factory members that night.
The Years Between is a very new piece of theater. So new that, in some ways I wouldn’t even know what to call it. A musical, a rock opera, a music and dance performance piece… the last option is probably a bit too wordy. The point is, coming into this process, I knew these characters, these songs and the stories I had a script and progression of songs that made sense in my head, but the time had come to test it.
If we wanted to work at stands some days- great. If we wanted to get up and fully stage and choreograph in the space- great! If that choreography changed the next day- great!! (By the way, this seems like another good moment to give major props to our cast.)
The beauty of the Factory is that by removing the pressure from the presentation, you actually truly workshop the piece. As silly as it sounds, we’ve taken to calling the MTF space our sandbox for these weeks. I think that communicates the joy of what we’ve been up to in that room. I’m excited for July 7th, when we present what we’ve been working on to Factory members, because I think that will shine through- that plus the ridiculous talents on this cast.
I’ll never forget riding in the elevator with one of our cast members after a rehearsal. She had never met Shakina before this process and was new to the Factory concept. As we rode, she turned to me out of nowhere and said, “this is really going to be something.” I feel the same way. You can feel it in the room. It’s an honor to be part of the first season- of many, I believe- for this amazing company.