After COVID-19 restricted many campus events, Professor of Theatre Craig Latrell wanted to select a show for Hamilton’s fall production that encapsulated the joy of live performance. In late May, he found a play that fit this criteria: 10 out of 12 by playwright Anne Washburn.
10 out of 12 invites the audience to sit in on a fictional technical rehearsal in which actors can only work 10 of the 12 hours they are on set, as per union rules, actor Ben Leit ’22 said.
“The show pokes fun at the conventions of theatre, and the ways in which people get so dramatic backstage, and how actors are divas and tech people are nerds,” Leit added. “It plays into all of those tropes.”
As with a real technical rehearsal, the play is not restricted to the stage. Actors playing stage managers or lighting/sound designers sit in the audience as well.
“Having actors in the audience echoes all the ways that technical rehearsals really happen,” said Latrell, who directs the performance. “The audience sees what exactly the people behind the scenes do and the incredible hard work and tedium that can coexist during a real technical rehearsal.”
10 out of 12 will be the first Hamilton production since the pandemic with a full audience, and maskless actors onstage. The ability to perform without masks occurred only recently — after Latrell’s petition to follow New York State theatre guidelines was approved. Before then, actors wore masks during rehearsals, with the exception of rehearsals conducted outside at the beginning of the semester.
Work on the play began shortly after auditions in late August, actress Addie Dumm ’22 said. The cast met five days a week from 4:15-6:45 p.m., accumulating almost 15 contact hours per week. As opening night approached, rehearsal time increased. Due to the time commitment, participants receive 0.5 credit. Actor Simon Stringer ’23 received an additional 0.5 credit for composing the show’s music.
The cast and crew will see their work culminate in seven days of performances — Thursday, Nov. 4; Friday, Nov. 5; Saturday, Nov. 6; Wednesday, Nov. 10; Thursday, Nov. 11; Friday, Nov. 12; Saturday, Nov. 13 — at 7:30 p.m., with an additional matinee on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. The performances will be held in the Romano Theatre in the Kennedy Center for Studio and the Performing Arts. Tickets are $4 for students, $6 for other campus members and senior citizens, and $10 for general admission and can be purchased online through eventbrite or by calling the box office at 315-859-4969.
“I think [people should come see the show] out of the pleasure of watching theatre being created, of watching the creative process happen right in front of you,” Latrell said. “It really is quite magical to see it happen.”