CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
I lived within a few blocks of the Keegan Theatre throughout most of my time living in Washington, DC. I contacted the Theatre about collaborating on a photography project and learned that the building would soon receive a ground up renovation. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was slated to be the debut show in the newly renovated space. The cast was to continue rehearsals throughout demolition and construction. This made for a perfect documentary subject.
I would stop by the theatre during the day to document the crews and trades at work and return at night to be a fly on the wall for rehearsals.
Rehearsals were a wonderful experience. The tight knit cast absorbed me within their world. I shot black and white film in a quiet, inconspicuous rangefinder, photographing within arms reach of the working cast members. They were so focused on their work that I would feel invisible at times; within but not a part of the world they would create on stage.
I’m not sure if the actors and crew were ever actually bothered by my presence. They certainly did not portray any annoyance while the work was being made. It was so meditative to leave my stresses and concerns behind, falling under the spell of the cast as they honed and perfected their version of a world first created by Tennessee Williams.
I was offered a section of the foyer to display prints from the project throughout the running of the show. I would love to be able to say that I feverishly developed the film and elevated my darkroom game to produce a dozen show worthy prints in a short period of time, but alas, this was not the case. I could not pull it off. An opportunity squandered. Looking back, I should have asked for help from a more seasoned dark room printer. Something I would happily do today.
But, the real reward was working through those rehearsals; completely spellbound by the characters that would appear and disappear right in front of my own eyes.