Anne Boleyn: First Day of Rehearsal Meet and Greet
The first day of rehearsal for any play usually begins with a welcome greeting from the artistic director of the company, followed by the director and the designers sharing their vision for the play before the cast reads through the play for the first time.
Jasson Minadakis, Marin Theatre Company Artistic Director and director for Anne Boleyn:
This is a play that has been on our artistic whiteboard for a couple of years, and we finally found the opportunity to do the play this season. We were looking for a play that had romance, some political heft, and something familiar turned on its head. I love history plays that reexamine a moment in time, but many have been incredibly male centric. What I really loved about this play was how it put the women’s part of the story forward, and made the men try to figure out what the women’s part of the story was. That’s something we need to keep thinking about as we look back at history.
This play has everything that I love about theatre in it. A whole lot of people, a whole lot of points of view, incredibly talented artists doing incredibly difficult things.
Nina Ball, set designer for Anne Boleyn:
Jasson and I talked about how fast the play moves and ways for the set to facilitate that. We were thinking about these two worlds: Anne’s world, roughly 1530s, and James’ world, early 1600s. In that short amount of time so much has shifted. We wanted to go back and forth between a very lush, romantic world and a very stark, cold world.
For the set design, I grabbed onto the look of Hampton Court, one of the many royal residences associated with [King] Henry. There’s a sense of power, but also of religion. Then there’s the idea of playing with perspective. We have an MC Esher-esque element in the design that will play with the way the audience sees the space.
When you look at the archways on each side, you can see the false perspective they’ve been designed with to give the impression that every door has two or three ways you can exit, and allows the audience to sense a lot of space that doesn’t actually exist.
It’s a big white set that provides a good backdrop for anything that wants to be thrown on it. There are also lots of entrances and exits, areas for actors to do their quick changes. And there’s no furniture, except for the throne.
Ashley Holvick, Marin Theatre Company Costume Shop Manager and costume designer for Anne Boleyn:
A big function of the costumes is to differentiate between James’ world and Anne’s world. The costumes are evoking the period but aren’t true period pieces. Because of that, we have to be cognizant of how we differentiate those periods. We use color and texture to tell that story. Because changes are happening so quickly, we will have base looks for everyone and will work with different pieces that easily come on and off to make effortless changes between time and characters.
James’ world is very steely and calculating. We’re using silver, grey, black, white, and some metallics. We’re keeping the color palette limited so that when we go into Anne’s world, it’s very lush and real and much more dynamic. To heighten the anonymity of everyone onstage who is not speaking in James’ world, we will have masks for the anonymous courtiers, who will always been watching, spying in the eaves.
Anne’s world is very colorful and very rich, with a lot of earth tones and other elements to signify the difference between the royal world and the world of servants or country people.
Teddy Hulsker, sound designer for Anne Boleyn:
This is a ghost story, where three worlds are all colliding. We have Anne Boleyn’s story, and King James’ story, and our own world. The kind of environment where these different times swirl around and the lines between them sometimes blur means we can make bold and expressive choices and not worry about necessarily adhering to what would be period-appropriate in terms of music and sounds.
One example is for James’ world, we’ll use the speakers onstage and backstage to create a sense of claustrophobia, that the world is cold and dangerous and closing in. Then in Anne’s world, we’ll use the full house system to create the sense of expansiveness and possibility. Then there are moments where these two worlds intersect, and bringing those two palettes together will be really interesting.
In James’ world, the question is, what are you going to do with this power that you now have, and how are you going to hang onto it? In Anne’s world, the question is, what do you do with the desire to become more powerful, and how do you fulfill a quest to change the world you live in? They’re both very dangerous worlds in different ways. In the quest for power or the quest to hold onto power, there are prices you pay.