Every year our apprentices come together and select a play they are passionate about to produce from the ground up. Everything from the marketing to all of the design elements are created by them. It’s a culmination of their time with us, and all they have learned from this past season. This year’s class has selected Lauren Yee’s gripping play in a word. We asked the members of this year’s apprentice class why they picked the play, and what about it speaks to them.
By Ian Sutherland
Gabriel Peñaloza-Hernandez, Brandon Cayetano, Lauren Schulke, and I have been working on the Apprentice Capstone Project since this last June. This project is the culmination of our year in Lanesboro, presenting us with an opportunity to put our new learned ideas into practice. We will use all the knowledge we have gained this year from both observing the Commonweal’s many administrative teams, and experiencing first hand how productions are planned and executed.
When the four of us had all finally assembled as a team last summer, we were tasked by the company with finding a script to produce using our combined talents. We spent quite a while going back and forth over scripts, finally landing on in a word by Lauren Yee, a script that all four of us are excited and passionate about. In the show, Fiona and her husband Guy come to terms with the loss of their son Tristan, while the words they use to describe their situation start to morph and change meaning. Brandon says that: “…it’s a show all about language and how people may interpret it differently.” Though the show centers on a heavy subject, it is not without playful moments, as Lauren notes: “…in a word made me smile and laugh while still telling an important story.”
in a word also presents us with some significant challenges. The play does not always follow an easy timeline, and the location of scenes varies wildly. As Gabriel observes: “We the storytellers must make sure that the audience comes along with our story or else they might lose vital information.” The responsibility will fall to us and our director and fellow Commonweal Company Member, Rachel Kuhnle, to bring the audience into the story and help them experience it fully.
Most challenging will be the simple fact that all four apprentices are taking on multiple roles in the process of producing the show. Lauren is one of the show’s three actors and taking on set and props design; Brandon is acting, costume designing, and overseeing our budget; Gabriel is stage managing and lighting designing; and I am acting, sound designing, and overseeing the marketing for the show.
Though this show demands a huge amount of work from us, we are ecstatic to be putting on in a word, a show we have grown to love passionately. We hope to see you there at the show in March!