When you watch a play you expect the audience to be in their seats and the actors to be on stage. However, when you sit down to watch the new UF School of Theatre + Dance show, 10 Out of 12, the actors are all around you.
The play, which takes its title from the Actors’ Equity rule (actors can only work 10 hours out of any 12 hour rehearsal day), is written by Anne Washburn, the same author of Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play. It follows the cast and crew of an unnamed show in its final hours of tech rehearsal before opening.
“I would call it a valentine to the theatre,” said Jeff Drushal, the unnamed show’s director, Elliot.
Russ Schultz, 10 Out of 12’s director, said this play is more technically challenging than other shows he’s done in the past.
“This show is like a kaleidoscope- you make one change, and suddenly, every other aspect is affected,” Schultz said. “Keeping track of all those changes has been the most challenging, but also the most rewarding, part of this experience so far.
Schultz said his background in project management helped him keep all the different technical balls in the air.
“To me, directing is a lot like that management,” Shultz said. “Knowing what needs to happen and when.”
The show requires the actors to be in the background for parts of the show while the technical team is in the spotlight.
“The tech in the show is truly a character itself,” Drushal said.
Serah Bennett, who plays the actress Eva, said one of the hardest parts for her was staying serious while in that background position, especially when she has a background in improv.
“There are a lot of times when I'm on stage and don't talk and it's hard to not be crazy and make people laugh,” Bennett said.
Sara Girard, who plays the stage manager, said one of the great things about the show is the characters.
“The best thing is every character is so entirely different, just like real life,” Girard said. “You have a whole lot of different personality.”
Since the show is a play-within-a-play, the actors already have experience with the material, and will be getting more while in their own technical rehearsal.
“I feel like it's fairly accurate,” Bennett said.“The thing about tech rehearsals is they’re not always the same.”
Drushal said he’s curious to see how people not acquainted with theatre will respond to the show.
“I hope people just come in with a sense of curiosity and don't worry about getting it too much,” Drushal said. “Just let the experience be revealed to you.”
10 Out of 12 opens Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. with evening performances until July 22 and a matinee Sunday, July 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 for the general public, $15 for seniors, $15 for UF faculty and staff, and $13 for students. They can be purchased at the University Box Office, located at Gate 1 of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, open Tuesday through Friday from 12:00pm to 5:00pm, or at (352) 392-1653. Learn more at www.arts.ufl.edu.