Preparing The Quality of Life

It's been a busy year so far. For the most part, I've been occupied by my directing duties at the Company OnStage, where we're preparing The Quality of Life by Jane Anderson for a March 16 opening. It's a project I committed to back in August (if I recall correctly) before I started work on Poe! Poe! Poe!, the show I directed for COS last fall.

It's a drama with themes close to my heart, broadly speaking. Death and dying. Grief and recovery from same. Where is God in the middle of our personal tragedies? When I read the script last summer, it hit me in several of my tender spots.

Then auditions came around in December and I had very strong actors come out to read for me. There are only four characters in the play and could have cast it twice with the people who showed up. In the end, I made some decisions that felt simultaneously carefully considered and capricious. I left the auditions thinking I'd have to hold call-backs to hear a few of them read some more, but a brief conversation with my stage manager made me realize who I wanted and why. Even then, so much of it is gut feeling.

As they say, if you're an actor, never feel like you're a bad actor or untalented because you didn't get a role. A couple of the actors who auditioned, I would have loved to have in the cast. It actually broke my heart to tell a couple of them i was going with another cast. But you can only fit four actors into a four character play.

And honestly, not to jinx myself, but this cast is working so well together, engaging the material with thoughtfulness . . . it's hard to imagine it cast any other way.

As I write this, we've been working for a month and we have two weeks before we open on March 16. There's work to do yet, to be sure, but I'm feeling good about this work. I hope we get an audience out to see this hard, beautiful, heartbreaking and heart-mending play.

As I said, we open March 16 and run Fridays and Saturdays (with one Sunday matinee on March 18) through April 7. Get your tickets here. Watch this space for more information in the next two weeks.