Cast members of Stage Left’s upcoming play “Bend, Tear, and Spindle” took shelter from the rain last week inside a McGuffey Hall fourth floor classroom. The room was sprinkled with umbrellas, Starbucks cups and bright yellow scripts. They had one week left of rehearsals before the technical run and then opening night.
Director Cami Kowalski helped move the scenes along as the actors stumbled over forgotten lines and worked through humorous blocking patterns.
“Don’t laugh during the scene,” Kowalski said to the cast members as they tried to collect themselves and carry on. A few giggles bubbled over anyway, and the cast collectively burst out into another round of laughter.
“Good luck,” said sophomore geography and sustainability double major Ryan McGuff, Kowalski’s assistant director.
“We don’t tell them to do these funny things,” McGuff said. “They just happen and we let them because that’s what it’s supposed to be. The show is really, really funny.”
“Bend, Tear, and Spindle” centers on a couple that is too old to have their own children and decides to become foster parents. Instead of getting one child for Fourth of July weekend, a mix-up in the computer system leaves them with eight foster kids. The couple then falls in love with each of these children, and the story turns into a comedic game of hide-and-seek as the family tries to trick the social workers into thinking there is only one child in the house.
Almost none of the cast members knew each other before the first rehearsal. Sophomore social studies education and history double major Abigail Downs, who plays the role of Ms. Pender, had never even been in a play at Miami before.
“It’s refreshing to meet a new group of people,” said Downs. “I’m very extroverted. I could easily consider all of these people my friends.”
Downs’ castmate Gina Moravec, who plays Jane Doe, also appreciates the close bonds that have come out of this rehearsal process.
“It’s been really fun,” Moravec said. “We’ve been constantly making jokes, and we connect easily because of the humor in the show.”
Moravec is a sophomore with a theatre minor, but it has been a year since she’s been in the theatre scene.
“It had been a while since I auditioned for anything at Miami,” Moravec said. “So I thought, ‘why not?’ I’ve never had a role like this. I always got cast as snooty or angry in high school, but this is the first time I’m a softer, more realistic character.”
Both Kowalski and McGuff have been onstage in the past, but this is both of their first times working as directors.
“In high school, my directors were the boss,” McGuff said. “I’m not the boss, in a good way. [The cast] takes suggestions, like in the show we’re just one big family, but we get stuff done.”
As rain continued to come down outside, laughter filled the room. The family in the script came alive through the actors in the classroom.
“It’s a cute little family comedy,” Moravec said. “Younger audiences and older audiences will both get something out of it.”
Stage Left will be putting up Lloyd Sylvesper’s “Bend, Tear, and Spindle” at 7:30 p.m. on March 1-3 in Wilks Theatre. Admission is free.