When you think about it, that's what a pick up rehearsal is. At least when you are just doing a two weekend show. Believe it or not, I never really thought of a pick-up in that light before. I guess usually it is just a rest stop between weekends...often times a sort of exciting time, as I head into the second weekend of a show after a break.
This time, it just seemed like a final rehearsal.
But then again the pick-up rehearsal is always a bit of a strange creature to me. Some plays have them. Some do not. I think all should, on the community level. One show I was in had half of one, skipping all of my action, and I did in fact feel cheated. That was because the rest of the cast did was is often the temptation to do...turned the rehearsal into a farce.
I am not certain when this tradition came about, or why it did. I can see, perhaps, the thought behind it. "We have already successfully performed the show one whole weekend, so we have it. There is no need to be tense now. We can kick back a bit, and enjoy ourselves for a change at a rehearsal."
This is not without merit. And I do think that a pick-up should be more light hearted, in most cases than a tech week rehearsal, it should not be out of control either.
The fact remain, however, that most directors I have worked for have insisted on a totally straight up pick-up rehearsal. That is what happened last night, though, like most "serious" pick-ups, there were moments of levity during the performances. Probably about as much as could be handled. Maybe a little more was possible.
All that aside, it is still a strange feeling. Having gotten over tech week, and the concerns of an opening night and weekend. Then having had nothing to do with the show for several days. Then, to return, and do the show again. Sometimes it feels like a half-asleep/half-awake dream; the goal of the rehearsal is still there, but the anticipation, pressure, stress and calculation is not. As though we were all putting on a play about a bunch of people rehearsing. (This touch of surrealism is what I think contributes to the goof off versions of pick ups.)
Ours was made extra weird by the fact we had none of our props or furniture. In most cases, you use the same set and props. But due to logistics, we could not. Which is fine, we did not really need them at this point. But, being totally off book, with block and lines, and having performed the show twice, it was weird to be that far along, and using just folding chairs in the chapel to represent all of the furniture. As though we had all gone back in time 6 weeks, and replaced our "early production" selves, but forgot to bring our stuff.
The pick-up rehearsal...
As for the actual work done, it was productive, weirdness aside. Each character, said the director, had "new moments" they brought to the rehearsal. Extra glances, different line deliveries. Keener insights into speeches. I myself felt a few places, (maybe two or three) where I felt open to something different. The pressure being off, I suppose, and the 5 days break allowed more muses to come into play, I would gather. One of the upsides to the oddness of the pick-up.
"Alais" came to me afterwards. She decided, for her own sake, to add a bit of back story between my character (Geoff) and her own. To give her something to work on, or play around with mentally when she has less to do up front.
I agreed to this.
Indeed, Alais does have some intense scenes center stage, which are often followed by long periods of saying nothing. I can understand why the actress would want something to play with. I am lucky, in that regard. Geoff is often in the background, but I know why he is; Geoff is always processing the data that is coming in. Always gathering information, processing in, making use of what he can, and discarding the rest. Planning. Configuring. As Henry describes him he's not flesh but "A device, with wheels, and gears". When I spend so much time in the background with nothing to say, I have the benefit of spinning those gears, inwardly. Hopefully that shows, outwardly, should someone choose to watch me during one of those scenes.
Exactly what kind of history "Alais" has in mind, I know not. I will ask her on Saturday. Perhaps. Maybe it would be more organic if I did not. I will ponder the notion.
Two more performances. Then I am without a show again, and I must begin looking for the next theatrical adventure. Nothing jumps out at me. The Old Opera House not only has set some policy changes that I find uncomfortable, but the next show is "Bye,Bye, Birdie"...something I have no interest in. I have no idea what other area theatres are doing.
But first things first. Another reminder for any loyal blog readers that are nearby to come see me in "The Lion in Winter". The link for the Full Circle Theater Company is in my links section. Go there for info.