Tracy Thorne explores the complex relationship between trust, betrayal, and trauma in her new play Good Children. The character’s live under the oppressive weight of dangerous secrets. They struggle to grow up and speak out in a world full of uncertainty. I was brought in to choreograph the intimacy for our world premier production. Val and Ella are both sixteen, and in a climactic scene they try to have sex for the first time. They don’t know what they’re doing, and the pressure in their uncertain world causes their frustrations at their fumbling innocence to erupt into violence. I worked with the actor’s consent to create physicality that alternated between desperate attempts to enact the heroic intimate moments they imagine and moments of failure, uncertainty, and desperation. We worked technically until both actors felt confident with the physical details that accompanied each beat within the sequence.
I also taught the actors the basics of the salsa, polka, waltz, and disco so they could explore how their character, who are all explicitly described as bad dancers, might do that dance. The result was heartbreaking and hopeful. The simple dance moments allow the audience to see the characters reaching for joy and freedom in an oppressive world.
Sophia Ancona, who played Ella, wrote this about her experience working with me.
” I was incredibly nervous for my role in Good Children at Connecticut Repertory Theater. As Ella I knew that I was going to have to tap into incredibly visceral emotions and when I read that there was going to be a sex scene I became overwhelmed. All I could think about during the early days of the rehearsal process was this one particular scene and if I would feel safe while it was being choreographed. I had heard that there would be an intimacy choreographer in the room but I wasn’t sure what that meant since I had never heard of the position before. I was excited to see that it would be Marie Percy. The day came to stage the scene. Marie came in and we checked in with one another. She said I could decide who I wanted in the room with us while we choreographed, a few people left and then we began. Marie made me feel so incredibly safe and comfortable. She assured me that I was in charge of my body and that I have rights as a human even though I was doing a job as an actor. My scene partner and I held hands and did three breaths together to connect us before we started choreographing. We gave consent to kiss and touch each other and we had all the power in the world to say if something was not okay with us, all because of Marie. She lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders when she came in, I immediately felt taken care of and that feeling held true throughout the whole rehearsal. I went from being terrified of this scene to having a lot of fun with it within minutes. Intimacy choreographers are so important in creating a safe and creative environment and Marie went above and beyond.”