This evening was our Thursday night rehearsal. It was calling for bad weather, which luckily did not show up during rehearsal. We have already lost one rehearsal due to snow. I hope there will be no more.
Today was my first chance to run a scene without the script. I would say I am 85-90% off book at this point. I have one more day to learn one more scene...should not be too overwhelming. (It cannot be so...Saturday is the due date to be off book, though we can call for lines.)
Of course, one scene we ran was the one scene I am not yet off book for. But no matter. The rewarding feeling of being free of script for 2 out of the three scenes more than made up for it.
The first scene was the one I have mentioned before...when Geoffrey confront his mother about why there was never any warmth from her, or his father, king Henry. As I have been playing it, this is the only real time Geoffrey shows alot of vulnerability. At least, what Geoff would consider vulnerable. I love to play the scene, and today it was especially satisfying. You do not have to be a veteran of reading this blog to know that I am now entering my absolute favorite part of the rehearsal process...being without scripts. Being able to work on nuance and subtlety. That is the meat and potatoes of the theatre, and though we only just began to be without our scripts today, I can already feel the dynamic between the characters evolving.
The second scene we worked on was one in King Philip's room. Much plotting and planning is going on. Geoff quite literally is in the middle of selling everyone to everybody. Theonly real person that stands to actually benefit from Geoff's plotting is in fact Philip, and the play does not allow us to know if even Philip ever would. But Philip thinks he will, and hence, allies himsefl with Geoff.
During said scene, in which Geoff leaves John swinging, (as per his plan) John rushes on and attacks him with the only weapon he can find...a candlestick. This was the candlestick stunt we worked on today, hence the title of this entry.
I have done stunts before in shows, but mostly comic ones. not that those can be taken lightly by an actor, but it has been a good long while since I had to do anything resembling combat. Years, in fact. And while John's attack is half-assed and very easily thwarted, there are still details that must be worked out and rehearsed in order to convince the audience that it has been thwarted. (And to keep me safe..."John" will be wielding a real brass candlestick!)
The plan is for him to come at me, and start to bring the candlestick down on top of me, whereby I grab his wrist, punch him in the stomach, and toss him onto a bed. (Belief it or not, that really is as combative as I have been on stage in a while.) We ran it a few times, and it needs work. Mostly from my own end.
For starters, we have to position ourselves so as to mask how fake the punch actually is. No easy task given our angles and such in respect to the audience.
Secondly, the set up requires me to block the attack with my left hand. If this were happening for real, my overwhelming reflex is to block something with my right. (That hand being my dominate hand, in that particular type of action.)
So, that goes on.
I also want to see if I can wear a ring of some sort. I have not asked the director yet, but I will. I think he would have something on. Plus it gives Geoff an idiosyncrasy...playing with a ring while thinking. I like to give all of my characters such things, and that seems a simple and appropriate way to do so in this case.
The final scene for the play was the last thing we rehearsed tonight in full. We have not run this one much, and it was quite different tonight than previously. The plan is now to have Henry toss me a knife, (he offers one in the script, but it is unclear if Geoff actually takes it.) In our production, I will in fact take it, and sort of block the door, to prevent a possible exit. I never actually use the knife, as Eleanor is able to disarm me before the end of the scene. (How and why she does this is something all of us are still working on.) But I do get to use the knife. I do not know if I will be wearing one, but, I will be using one by the end.
And so it goes. Day after tomorrow, we are all to be off book.