By Abby Wargo
From Oct. 25-26, “Small Mouth Sounds,” a directing SCE from Kelly Young and a stage management SCE by Jackie Dulaff, was per- formed in Tawes Theatre.
The play, written by Bess Wohl, follows a group of people on a silent yoga retreat who are trying to find enlightenment. The play is almost entirely without dialogue, save for the booming overhead voice of the retreat teach- er, voiced by senior Jourdan Aten.
The director’s note echoes this silent mes- sage: “Listen to / the silence. / It’s telling / the truth.”
Running a show with minimal dialogue was challenging for everyone involved.
“Every show comes with its own set of challenges and the trick of meeting those challenges is to be super flexible. On this show in particular, the big obvious challenge is that there is very little dialogue, but a lot of action and movement to document. Creating a way to document this movement has been a big challenge throughout this process,” Dulaff said.
“Working on a ‘silent’ show has also been a new experience. We learned how important it was to make our faces appear engaged with- out using our voices,” said sophomore Kath- erine Desrosiers, who played Joan.
There were other challenges inherent in the show besides the silence.
“It has definitely been a challenge to por- tray very complex emotions, but it made me much more connected to my character and her story. For example, my character, Joan, has to get very angry and upset and explode at Judy, and this was really weird for me be- cause I am normally a calm and easy-going person,” Desrosiers said.
Another challenge Dulaff was presented with was managing a live fire onstage.
“At the end there is a scene where the characters will be burning pieces of paper on stage. To be able to do fire in Tawes Theatre takes a lot of preparation and requires every- one to be working very efficiently to get it all approved. A big thanks must go out to our Props Masters (Cassy Sottile and Alex Ra- mos) our cast, Kelly, Larry Stahl, and Public Safety for their hard work to getting that fire on stage in a safe way,” she said.
Dulaff ’s decision to work on “Small Mouth Sounds” for her stage managing thesis was motivated by that challenge.
‘‘‘Small Mouth Sounds’ drew me in par- ticular because of how challenging it would be. I would love to be a professional stage manager after graduation, so I wanted to get as many skills as possible while at school. ‘Small Mouth Sounds’ has definitely given me a lot of new skills and challenged me in great ways,” she said.
Sophomore Finney Lynch, who played Jan, said, “This show was everything theatre is supposed to be — a director with clear intent and decisions, an SM team that’s prepared for anything, designers who are always one step ahead, and overall a community full of love.”
As the play was a joint thesis, Dulaff and Young had to work together to put on the show.
“Working with Kelly as a director has been super smooth and easy because we can both relate to past experiences on shows we have worked on together and make decisions about how we would like our show to be run,” Dulaff said. “Kelly is also a very kind and wonderful person so working with her has helped me become a better and more confi- dent leader.”
The cast and crew of “Small Mouth Sounds” were “like family,” according to Lynch.
“It’s been really great having this team because everyone works really well together and supports one another. We’ve had a cou- ple of moments where we were like, ‘Ahhh! How will it ever all get done?!’” But, it passes because the show will go on and it always gets done,” Dulaff said.
Lynch said, “Being part of ‘Small Mouth Sounds’ was the most gratifying experience I’ve had in theatre. Every member of the cast and crew was loving and supportive and helped each other out where they could.”
Desrosiers agreed that working on the show was an “awesome experience.”
Lynch said the show’s audiences each night were receptive despite the lack of dialogue.
“The audience each night was engaged and responsive even though this was a unique show with so much silence. Everyone seemed to care about the characters and the story we were telling, and that’s really all we can ask of an audience — to care,” Lynch said.