Friday, June 15, 2007

Home Strech...Already?!

I had a rehearsal tonight for the one act play. We also had one on Wednesday. We open a week from tonight.


What with the casting problems, and having missed the first 4 or 5 rehearsals due to same, a play's opening has NEVER ran up on me this quickly before in my career. Just check back on this blog to confirm that. How much have I really said about it? It's not because I have nothing to say, but because we only had about 4 weeks to start with, and have only seriously got underway in the last day or two.

So what can be said about that last day or two?

A lot of work remains. We are a bit behind, in my opinion, even for a reading. But with just now finalizing a cast, that is expected, I suppose.

The timing is still being worked out. When the lines of two people have to be coordinated with the silent mouth movements of two other people, insanity can ensue. The add to that the use of props AND script, (it is a reading, remember), and you have a lot to juggle.

The script calls for headsets to be used by Kennedy and Castro. I tried that for the first time on Wednesday night, and found it very awkward. In fairness though, I was still trying to carry my script around. While I had planned to get off book for this show as much as possible, I wasn't on Wednesday, and I still needed the script, if I was to have any hope of mouthing actual lines.

There was brief talk of using phones instead of headsets. I am ok with this idea, but there seems to be some concerns about getting tangled up in the chords that would be required. I am not sure I totally understand this concern, but it is not a final decision yet.

In fact, for tonight's rehearsal, the possibility of phones was brought up again. But because we did not have the phones with us, the director asked the silent characters to use nothing...neither phone nor headset; instructing us instead to just recite the lines.

If this approach is adopted, it will be a highly;y stylized, almost art house sort of presentation, given that silent characters are mouthing words withing inches of those that speak and are heard. But this does have an advantage...I felt much more at ease about invoking JFK. My hands were free, and I was free to move around the stage as I "spoke". I did honestly feel that alot of my JFK mannerisms came more naturally to the surface this way.

As for the script, I found a nice place to tuck it away on the interpreters desk. So I can, in a very nonchalant manner, glance down at the next line, should I need two, as I am pacing back and forth. A careful turning of the page when someone else is talking, and it works out nicely. I have the freedom to move around, but the support of the script for the reading, should I get lost.

Again, the audience may find that a tad confusing. But really, my main job, I feel, is to non-verbally express the various emotions, and to invoke, convincingly, the mannerisms of JFK. Despite the shortcomings of the rehearsal, I felt very much able to do this tonight. If I can accomplish those two goals, the other things may not matter as much to me.

In fact, after my one and only spoken line, at the end of the play, the actress playing my interpreter did mention how much I sounded like JFK. So, if I look like him for the rest of the play as much as I sound like him in the end, I am getting to be in pretty good shape.

Which is good, given that we have just 4 more rehearsals. It will improve each time, once we get the 2 minute pantomime that opens the piece timed out properly.

Also got my costume today. A suit I wore for a previous production. So it fits nicely.

I signed on to this project looking for something unique and different. No doubts at all that I have achieved that.

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