Attending the closing performance of Robert Kauzlaric’s world premiere theatrical adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s NEVERWHERE, I had that sort of experience where you look back on the past year as a series of snapshots relevant to the present moment.
It was about this time last year that I listened to Mr Gaiman read his novel in audio book format as I drove to and from a wedding I was officiating in rural Ohio.
I remember the auditions. Chris Hainsworth’s leather pants, goatee and long black hair waltzing in the door with a charming, disarming, confident and dastardly Marquis deCarabas. Kyra Morris’ simplicity of power and resolve reading Hunter’s monologue. Watching Rob out of the corner of my eye reading Richard opposite some other auditions and scratching my head in wondering “Why not?”
First rehearsal. Reading INSTRUCTIONS aloud with the cast. Describing, without a sketch to show anyone, how I envisioned the Beast of London as a 10 to 12 piece puppet of a giant boar that would fly apart when attacked and come back together again to strike. Alan’s beautiful scenic design sketch, which now hangs in my living room.
I remember fondly the early combat rehearsals with Rick Gilbert. The rehearsal when Richard is running to his office late and no one sees him or recognizes him, where I sat back next to Katie McLean and we watched the actors sort out their traffic needs. The night we actually choreographed the basic moves of the Beast of London fight with all the puppet pieces in the room. The night Sean Sinitski brought in his first homemade candy glass Kai Lung statuette.
On and on - the tech process, the opening process, the run process, the understudy and extension process - it all crept back into consciousness while witnessing the final utterances of these scenes by these actors in this space.
There is an exchange towards the end of the play between Door and Richard in London Below that Rob adapted from the book with an eye and ear to being succinct while staying true to the emotional stakes of the characters. Yesterday’s goodbye had an extra layer to it. Rob and Katie have been friends for years and there is no doubt they will see each other again, but playing these roles in this relationship together is something they will remember all their lives, and when saying goodbye as characters, they were also saying goodbye as actors to their shared experience.
Maybe I got something in my eye. I’ll never tell.