Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pencils for Knives

That is what we were using tonight at rehearsal. At least I was. One of the scenes we rehearsed tonight was the final scene of the play, where Eleanor brings her boys knives, ostensibly to escape the dungeon.

But before that scene, we rehearsed two others. First, a scene where Geoff, John, and Philip are plotting and planning. (All for Geoff's benefit of course.) Then, John and I must spend am extended period of time hiding behind a tapestry. (Of which, we do not have one, yet.) It probably will only, in reality, be about ten minutes behind said curtain, and I am not sure what sort of curtain it will be. But when you are standing waiting for your entrance, in what will in all likelihood be a very small space, with another actor...I am sure it will feel longer.

But today of course, I had the luxury of just sitting in a nearby chair, and running lines for my next scene...which is one of my favorites. More on that in a moment.

As is always the case, there are blocking issues right now. That is because it is still early, but also because we are working in our practice venue most of the time right now. (The same venue wherein we performed "All in the Timing".

I adore the natural physics of actors on stage when a production is in it's infancy. A great many of them seem to naturally clump together in a scene, unless a line very particularly mentioned a movement. Even then, it does not always happen. Even more puzzling...such clumps, depending on the show, tend to occur in roughly the same part of the stage, regardless of the scene. In our case, we often seem clumped at a position down right. It can be frustrating, but at this point, it is still amusing to me. We are, however, slowly working all of that out.

But there are great things going on, even now. I am starting to get a better feel for what Geoff is up to, scene to scene. I of course, intellectually know, but it has to get inside me before I perform it. It is starting to do so. Unfortunately, two of the scenes we ran today or ones I have not yet gotten off book for...and the madness of holding a script was still present.

But the other scene, I am basically off book for. Not simply because my responsibilities are brief in it, as far as lines, but also because it is, as I said, one of my favorite scenes. So I have read that one more often. It is the scene when Geoff confronts his mother about why she, or his father, for that matter, never showed him any affection. It is, arguably, the only scene where Geoffrey is not directly plotting something. Ergo, he is at his most vulnerable. This makes the scene rich. Andit also requires me to give a great deal of thought to it...possibly more than any other scene, despite its brevity.

Geoff is the cold, cerebral, calculating son. Even others in the play allude to it. Thus far I play him as someone who is either always in control, or in the very least, always ascertaining as much information as he can in order to regain control. Always listening, always observing. Always making a calculation. Never out of his game. But in this least in the first section of it, he appears to his mother simply in order to ask this question...and as he says, it is not an easy question for him.

I have many questions I must ask myself. Why does he do this? More important, why does he choose that exact time? How do the events leading up to that point bring about this rare moment? How shall I portray that, as an actor?

Thankfully, our Eleanor is not only an excellent performer, but someone that I know. It will cut down the stage intimacy time required for it. Even today I felt the truth of the scene, though it is all very rudimentary. I long to see how it unfolds overtime. As I do, of course, the whole play.

We are to be off book by the first of next month. I have some work ahead of me, but I can get it done. We will be able to call line for a while, so I should at least be that far along.

One final factoid: I was talking with "Eleanor", and she had come across the same interesting fact in her research as I had a few weeks ago...the historical Philip was great friends with the historical Geoffrey. Not sexual relationship was indicated in the articles I read, but so distraught was Philip when Geoffrey died, tht he had to be restrained, lest he leap into Geoffrey's grave.

History being more dramatic than the stage sometimes.

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