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Director’s Brief: The Rumble Down the Tunnel

by Karen Azenberg

Late at night in New York City, you can stand on the subway platform and wait for the train and it is silent. Well, maybe not silent—there’s the dripdripdrip of water onto the subway track; the scurrying of the ever-present NYC subway rats; the occasional, rhythmic, echoing footsteps of another person waiting for the train.

It’s eerie and yet calming. It’s short-lived.

Because then there’s the rumble from far down the tunnel, the clang of the track shifting, and the wind being forced in your direction as the train hurdles down the track and whooshes into the station.

That’s what is feels like at PTC today. It’s quiet, with the scurrying of stage managers prepping rehearsal rooms that have been empty for a couple of weeks. With the rhythmic hammering, and sawing, coming from the scene shop. The copy machine churning out scripts, schedules, contact sheets and paperwork for the arriving casts.

The rumble down the tunnel has started. Eighteen out of town actors, directors, designers arrive this weekend and, on Monday morning, the train pulls into the station and 40 actors, four directors, three designers and six stage managers descend on our building as rehearsals begin for both Twelfth Night and In the Heights.

We’ve headed into one of the most exciting and daunting parts of the season. I look forward to it with pride… and dread. There is no room for error. Everything must happen on schedule. Everyone must arrive. (Did you hear that, Gods of Weather?!)

Until then, though, I enjoy the quiet.

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