Behind Theater Doors: Chinglish First Rehearsal Recap

by Amanda Spinella, Artistic Assistant

This past Tuesday was an exciting day for The Lyric Stage Company of Boston. Not only was it Election Day, but it was the first rehearsal for the cast and company of our upcoming production of Chinglish.

 This was my first experience at a Lyric welcome since my recent move from the Front of House to behind the scenes where I now work as the Artistic Assistant, and it was a pleasure to be involved in the beginnings of a production. I’ve been working at The Lyric for just over three years and…it’s no secret that I love it here: the dedication to the job and the art, the feeling of family, and of course, my co-workers’ witty humor. But it was newly energizing to watch my veteran superiors speak so enthusiastically about their positions. From ticketing to outreach, it was so clear how many moving parts go into making this production something really fantastic. For me, after working with scripts and contracts, it was great to meet the cast face to face and watch the work begin.

With the whole team assembled, we began with the Meet and Greet where staff members introduce themselves, their positions, and give a basic rundown of how the company operates, focusing on the fun things like when The Lyric treats us to dinner. This Meet and Greet was particularly special because there are a lot of new faces joining The Lyric family for Chinglish and meeting for the first time. Some of the new actors joining us for this production include Alexander Platt, Tiffany Chen, Michael Tow, Celeste Oliva, Chen Tang, Liz Eng, and the Language coach, Gail Wang. From the way we were talking, joke-cracking, and sharing, you would never have known that moments prior we were strangers; the excitement and positivity for this production were palpable. It was wonderful to see seasoned company members and hungry newcomers alike diving headlong into creating a comfortable atmosphere and even more, a detailed and thoughtful production.

The sense of coming together was only made stronger by the fact that it was Election Day. We relayed stories left and right about how long we waited to vote, what kind of characters we met in line, and not once did it matter who we voted for and why. I was reminded immediately how important it is to share these experiences, how exciting it is to come together for change, and how, despite our differences, we can be involved in something bigger than ourselves. From voting in a presidential election to mastering the Mandarin in a new script, we had plenty to bond over. Larry Coen, the director of Chinglish, ended with some uplifting thoughts about the work we were beginning. He informed us that it was believed on the Tibetan calendar that all the positive energy put into the world that day became multiplied by 10 million. Whatever you believe, it’s hard to argue that that’s not a fitting fortune for a day full of unity and new beginnings.  

Chinglish, by David Henry Hwang, opens Friday, November 30th, and with this beautiful cast, excellent story, and hard-working team, you won’t want to miss it!