June 10, 2015

Ever been bored into rhapsody? Every so often, a strange and ecstatic vision rises from the carefully tended tedium of “10 out of 12,” Anne Washburn’s evocation of that special state of theater purgatory known as the tech rehearsal, which opened on Wednesday night at Soho Rep in a production directed by Les Waters. This insider’s ode to the labors of love undergone in putting on a play, based partly on notes Ms. Washburn took during five years of sitting in on such rehearsals, doesn’t shy away from those moments — nay, hours — when all you’re aware of is the labor part. In “10 out of 12” (the title refers to the 10 hours Actors’ Equity allows its members to work in a 12-hour period) audiences are invited to feel the pain that goes into the business of make-believe. Well, pain is perhaps too exciting a word for what’s experienced during those prepreview rehearsals when a technical crew nails down its sound and lighting cues. More often, it’s numbness — enlivened by flickers of punch-drunk silliness and the flaring of tried tempers — that descends on the participants in this darkness before the dawn of a new production.