Team-Work at Play: An Open-Rehearsal Review of COLOSSAL


Photo by Mona Maruyama

Photo by Mona Maruyama

Presented by Company One
An NNPN Rolling World Premier­­
Play by Andrew Hinderaker
Directed by Summer L. Williams

July 17 – August 15, 2015
Roberts Studio Theater at the BCA
527 Tremont St, Boston, MA
Company One on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Last night, I had the opportunity to watch from the sidelines what promises to shape up into one of the more exciting theatre offerings that Boston has on tap this summer.  Company One hosted an open rehearsal of their summer blockbuster Colossal and the show (from what I saw last night) has great promise!

Colossal is a show about football.  It’s also about injury, disability, brotherhood, intimacy, and non-verbal communication, but mostly it’s about football.  As such, the show’s structure mimics that of a football game: four 15-minute quarters are performed with all the pomp and circumstance of the sport.  At our sneak peak, we were promised a drum line, dancers (though not cheerleaders), and a halftime show when we returned to see the final product.  A scoreboard hung prominently above the stage will count down the time in each quarter, creating pressure on the artists to have their genuine human moments within the confines of a very structured game-time.

It’s a novel approach to theatre, and one that I think has great promise.  From what I saw in rehearsal last night, the cast is an extraordinarily talented bunch with natural chemistry and charisma to boot.  The director, Summer Williams, is smart, intuitive, and works well with her actors.

One interesting tid-bit that came up in a Q/A session last night is the issue of representation.  Company One is outspoken in its values; anyone on the Boston theatre scene knows that they care about equal representation on the stage.  While Colossal features an all-male cast (of necessity to serve the story), Company One offset this by choosing to hire an all-female design team.  As a woman working in the theatre (sometimes as an actor, sometimes as a fight director), I have to admire this commitment to creating space for female theatrical personages even when the play specifically calls for male bodies onstage.  I think many professional companies would do well to look to this example when considering the fairness of their hiring practices.

The concept of an “open rehearsal” has got to be boot quaking for all involved parties.  To me, rehearsal is one of the most intimate parts of a production; it’s where you take risks, make mistakes, and fail multiple times in order to put forth a product worth showing to the public.  Inviting a large group of strangers in to that process (even for a brief time) was a brave move for Company One, and one that I think paid off.  While rehearsal is par for the course for a working artist, my guest was a man who had never seen a rehearsal before and was lured by the promise of a “play about football”.  He found the process interesting, engaging, and likened the experience to a trailer for a film.  I couldn’t agree more; we got to see just enough of the show to be very interested in the final product without seeing so much as to “spoil” any major twists.  Bravo on the courage, C1!  I can only hope it pays off.  After last night, I, certainly, am eagerly looking forward to Colossal’s opening next week.

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