Monday, February 18, 2008

Lion in Winter's Second Tech Day

First off, my thanks to "Anonymous" for your well wishes. They are appreciated.

I would have written yesterday, but again I was rather tired. Here is how things went down at the theatre on Sunday.

It was not quite as long as the previous night, to start with. And despite the absence of a cast member, and few potholes, (myself included), I will say the show went better than the night before.

The first thing about yesterday were costumes. I wore mine for the first time in an actual practice. There are some frills and such to be added later, but overall it seems appropriate, and feels totally comfortable. I can move in it, sit in it, and do all the actions required of me. I believe tunic is the technical term for what it is called, though I am not sure. And extra long short...down to about my knees, under which I wear black sweatpants. Mine is dark brown in color. A black belt word around my waste on the outside. My standard "theatre shoes" will be covered in such a way as to suggest time appropriate footwear.

And of course my "super-bling" 50 cent ring I purchased a few eeks ago, and have been wearing. The director also said something about some of us wearing something around our necks, a necklace perhaps? Before I had a chance to clarify, she had moved on to an other topic, and forgot all about it until I was writing this entry.

All and all, a very simple, medieval costume.

Something else that was new yesterday was the tapestry "booth" in which John and I will hide during the final scene in act 1. The set up had never been used before, and I was inside of it during the actual scene before I realized I did not know exactly which curtains to come out of, or which to pull to the side in order to reveal John later on. So unfortunately, I had to leave the stage during the scene and ask the stage manager what to do, before returning to my hidden space.

It really is like a booth. The curtains are quite thick, and the rear is backed up against the upstage wall of the performance space itself. A unusual sensation being "on stage" and yet so totally removed from the action. I could pass out, and nobody in the audience or on stage would even know it had happened, if I feel a certain way. If I feel forward though, I would come through the curtain and they certainly would know. But the point is, it is quite shut off from the performance space.

"John" and I have not tried it out together yet as he was not there. But there should be room for two of us. Though even if there is not room for the booth of us behind the curtains, I truly have no clue what can be done about it now.

And the stage is still cut in half by banners and tapestries and such, in some scenes, limited the workable room to almost zero. I would say 80% of my blocking that I have practiced the last few weeks has had to be altered on the spot as I perform, given the shrinkage of the stage. I am constantly running into furniture. Plus the shrinkage has been made even worse by the fact that apparently the lights do not reach to the sides of the stage, meaning every has to be even CLOSER to everything else. That is one of the must frustrating aspects of this venue. You can't move on it.

As for the actual acting yesterday, I suppose it is "getting there". There are still some lines I get tripped up on, and indeed I dropped a minor one in a rehearsal of a scene where I was talking to the ether that was John yesterday. But beyond that, regretful but necessary changing of venues very few days has made getting into character, to the level I am accustomed, a but more laborsome than in other shows in a standard theatre space. I am not concluding that it is impossible. Some moments the last two days have indeed felt quite real. But it is hard to work on nuance when every time you run the scene, the table you need to cross in front of, or the chair you need to sit in is in a different place. (This has happened even within the real stage venue over the last two days, let alone at different venues.) Yet I will find my focus, I am sure. I prefer to find it before opening night, but rare is the time I do not find some degree of grounding by the time the show opens. Even if it is an hour before.

Perhaps I will find it an hour or so before opening while actually rehearsing...the director has called an extra rehearsal to take place right before the actual opening of the show. I have never rehearsed a show, at regular speed, right before performing it. Particularly on opening night. And I may not be able to make it, due to the last minute calling of said rehearsal, but I told the director that I will make every effort to be there.

I am no stranger to performing a show twice in a day. The Old Opera House used to have a policy of performing musicals twice on the first Saturday. (Before switching this two having musicals run on Thursdays as well.) In college, we had several shows that, for whatever reason, were performed twice in one day. Though in those cases there was an audience present both times, and this will merely be a rehearsal before the performance.

In conclusion, unless I am able to get to the last minute rehearsal this Saturday, I have had my second, and final rehearsal of the whole show in the actual venue. Though this week is our final wek of rehearsals, it can really only be called "tech week" in name only, because tonight we will be in the director's home, the following three days in the famous chapel I have mentioned here before, and Friday back in the director's home. no real way to practice technical aspects. Despite the difficulty this presents to actors, I feel sorry for the technical crew quite a bit more. The scene changes were quite rough on the stage yesterday, and they will not have much of a chance to perfect those moments. I have faith in them, though. I just wish they had more time.

But, venue or not, I shall be running the show every night for the next week. This is a plus because it will allow us that repetition that is so vital to perfecting a show. Repetition which was hard to come by until this week. I am sure much will look better on Thursday night, as compared to tonight and last night.

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