In celebration of the Constans Theatre’s 50th year of operation, director Russell Schultz has returned to his alma mater to direct a play written by Anne Washburn about the demanding 10 out of 12 non-consecutive hours per seven days that precede a stage show’s opening night.
UF’s adaptation will likely mirror the real rehearsals that come before its July 20 opening, as Washburn’s goal was to present audiences with a realistic view of the misadventures playgoers do not see before the polished presentation when the curtain is lifted.
One of a long list of Actors’ Equity Association rules for union members is that “rehearsals shall not exceed 10 out of 12 consecutive hours per day.” Rules like this are imposed in part to shelter the sanity of the production’s key players.
According to the press release, “10 out of 12” is loosely based on notes Washburn took during tech rehearsals she sat in on as a playwright. Her goal in her work is to “focus on the rituals that accompany the human condition.”
This controlled mayhem will become both entertaining and relatable even to audiences unfamiliar with the trials and tribulations of a theater production’s tech week.
During the show, the entire theater space will be utilized throughout the duration of the production.
Sara Girard, who plays the stage manager, Molly, has attended the UF School of Theatre and Dance for one year and finds being in “10 out of 12” different from other shows for one main reason.
“The most difficult thing about this show has been getting used to walking all throughout the theater. Typically, actors are only seen on stage but in this show we are all over the place,” Girard said. “At some points, we will even be inches away from audience members.”
Audiences will also be able to hear side conversations among technicians that are normally only heard through their personal headsets.
“The most significant challenge was the technical aspect of this show,” Schultz said. “The audience must be able to hear all of the talk over the headsets between the designers and the crew."
She said usually the actors don't hear that talk, so it was challenging to figure out how they were going to sell it to their audience.
"In other words, how much of their disbelief could we willingly suspend? I think we landed on a solution that will give the proper effect to the audience,” Schultz said.
Schultz graduated from UF in 2011 with his MFA in acting. Before then, he had been a professional actor since the '90s in New York City and Dallas. He was recently hired as an assistant professor of theatre at Santa Fe College.
“I am very thankful for the opportunity to direct plays both at Santa Fe and UF, and am glad to have been given a chance to do what I feel I was called to do, which is teach,” Schultz said. “I am directing ‘War of the Worlds’ at Santa Fe in the Fall, so that’s what’s next on my plate.”
Jerry Dickey, the director of UF School of Theatre and Dance, said this play is dedicated to the various students, actors, designers, technicians and faculty who set foot in the Constans Theatre every day with the “collective goal of creating productions that are both entertaining and artistically rewarding,” according to the press release.
“10 out of 12” will have a 7:30 p.m. curtain July 20 through July 22, while July 23 will have a 2 p.m. matinee.
Tickets are $18 for the general public, $15 for seniors, UF faculty and staff and $13 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the University Box Office, located at Gate 1 of the O’Connell Center, online at ticketmaster.com or over the phone at 352-392-1653.