“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.”
This quote, from Stephen R. Covey, expresses director Tongchai Hansen’s approach to the rehearsal process of 17 Days in America, and not only applies to the actors but to himself. His ethos requires the director to listen as much as the cast, for when everyone is “truly listening, a sea of colourful opportunities to speak the words starts to ripple around the space.”
The play, written by Adrianna Pavlovska, explores “the emotional journey between two human beings and its psychological effect on them.” Because Tongchai “feels and trusts the text,” “together in rehearsal we’re making sure that we are all listening to each other by just simply talking to each other,” alongside “repetition exercises and improvisation within the text.” He wants it to “be communicated and told in a raw, realistic, and honest way.” In addition to listening, the two actors, Eliah Arnstjerna and writer Adrianna Pavlovska, “always have something to offer when it comes to the creation of the play.” They are “so professional and playful” in rehearsal. “
Tongchai believes that “no matter who you are, where you’re from, and what languages you speak and understand,” 17 Days will resonate on an international level because of the realism in it. Everyone will be able to “relate and recognize” the conflicts and journey that is being explored.
“We often forget that reality can be as absurd, or even more so, than what you see on stage and television. No need to add anything extra. Sometimes, all you need is two human beings trying to communicate with each other, and out of it natural surprises will occur.”