By: Hannah Schwob
The RIT Players have returned
to the stage for their spring production, The Rimers of Eldritch. Written in the early 1960s by Pulitzer prize winning author Lanford Wilson, it creates a complex web of characters, stories, and cultural context that has made it one of the most challenging productions that I’ve been a part of in my past fourteen years of theater.
The show depicts a deteriorating coal town in Missouri where sin hides behind the facade of morality and those who do not conform to these principles live a life of isolation. Each of these seemingly innocent characters conceals their conflicts behind closed doors; but their stories overlap seamlessly in a collective tale of crime, secrets, and deceit.
Lanford Wilson, best known for Hot L. Baltimore and Fifth of July, has penned a beautiful and intricate script for this show. We called in the big guns and turned to our club advisor, Jerry Argetsinger, a man with 50 years of theater experience and an impressive theatrical resume, to direct Rimers of Eldritch. It is all thanks to his direction (accompanied by our talented assistant director, Tom Weekes,) that we have brought this production from a mess of confusing sentences on paper to a full-fledged academic performance. However, in order to put on the pretense of a polished show we obviously had to go through some major obstacles to get here, and this is why:
Why I personally had a tough time with this script
1.) There aren’t any specified scenes, just Act I and Act II.
2.) Therefore lines, actions, scenes, times, and locations overlap in a completely non-linear fashion.
3.) Stage directions (if any) can be vague and misleading.
4.) Nearly every single one of the 17 characters in this show are required to be on stage for the entire duration of the play (lots of time in rehearsal).
5.) Language has obviously evolved in the last half a century (I mean who still uses the term “batty as a g–d-mn loon” these days?).
6.) We have to sound like southerners.
Even after having run through this script at least two dozen times, I still have found subtle nuances, connections, and arcs, which as an actor, has made my job more rewarding. Rehearsals have gone from being slow and choppy to fluid and insightful, each time a new we run through the show a new layer is added to the story. It’s been an exhausting journey but a gratifying one.
Despite the long rehearsals, the daunting script, and the mounting piles of homework, I have and always will love the process of a performance. Creating something out of nothing, collaborating with others who are just as passionate about a project as you, and seeing your hard work pay off opening night make it all worth it.
We get to grow not only as actors but also as friends. After all, we have been spending an average of 11 hours of rehearsal time together each week. It’s like getting to hang out with my “family away from home” every day and be goofy and dumb and constantly tweet and snapchat each other from across the room. If you search for a similar kind of community as the one fostered amongst a cast you won’t be able to find one.
If this post hasn’t made you want to run right out and buy your ticket for The Rimers of Eldritch I don’t know what will, perhaps the fact that tickets are only $5 for students with an RIT ID and $8 for general admission. Our three performances will be held in Ingle Auditorium Friday April 26th and Saturday April 27th at 8pm, and Sunday April 28th at 2pm. The play contains some strong language and mature themes meant for mature audiences only.
Hannah is a second-year photojournalism major who has acted in multiple RIT Players shows. She is currently the communications officer.