Score! Despite tonight's rehearsal being in the director's home, (which causes cramping issues) this was, as far as I am concerned, our best rehearsal yet! We were not without our flubs, BUT, they were very easily swallowed up by all the things that went right.
To begin with, we were in costume, which always helps. (Though my pants were temporarily missing. Thankfully for my cast, I had my street clothes with me.) Once located, however, all was well with costumes.
"Eleanor" added some trim to my tunic. It looks good. Sort of Romesque, to coin a word. I do like the way it looks, and it suits Geoffrey, somehow, if a color can suit a character. It seems the trim is slightly off center and will be redone soon. Had she not told me I might not have noticed, but she is the costume lady, and that is what she is there for. (That and of course, playing Eleanor...both jobs done marvelously.)
As is the case with 98% of all things theatrical, energy is key, and we all had it in spades tonight. On a Monday evening, who knew? Maybe it was because lots of people were off for President's Day. Maybe everyone last night had a notion to kick it into overdrive at the exact same time. Or maybe there is no explanation for why and when the magic comes when it does. The point is, it came tonight.
I could feel it from the moment I started my first lines. At the same time, or perhaps because of it, I found a whole new perspective for the first scene...bemusement. Geoff is actually not quite plotting yet. At least when I played my first scene of the show tonight, I felt, all of the sudden, that he did not have to be plotting anything just yet. He could just be observing the tornadop around him for a while before jumping in himself. This gave me a sense of freedom as the show opened which I did not feel before. A sense of allowing the plot to come to Geoff, instead of having him run out in the middle of a field to meet it. The moment I began to think about it that way, the first scene took on new life. And perhaps that is what contributed to my overall ehanced experience tonight. But certainly not the only thing.
There is a concept in theatre for me, that I experience from the inside, words for which I have not quite come up with yet. The best I have come up with is "beams of light", but that is still not quite it. That is not fluid enough. But when a play is going right, and actors are hitting their marks, as well as interacting perfectly with one another, thereby causing the whole cast to interact with the audiences, energy flows in and out of individual souls at rapid speeds. It happens when an actor shoots another actor a look. Or when a speech reaches every last hearts in the room, and not just every set of ears. When lines you have never laughed at get laughed at, and things you normally trip over right themselves on the spot. This energy darts in and out of each actor, but also fills the room. And, when the time comes, fills the audience. And the best part is, the more is passes through people, the stronger it gets, as opposed to weaker.
The beginnings of that flight of the so called "light beams" began today. It was that which I started to feel. And if it increases as each night of this week goes by...by the time we open, it will be quite the intricate and wonderful dance between the individual performances, and the moods the light illicit.
One such moment, totally organic, that sprung forth naturally from the scene, without any pre-planning on anyone's part, came in a scene with myself and "John".
"John" is a great actor, who I am only getting to work with for the first time in this play, despite knowing him for years. The character of course, is a spoiled little brat, and quite obnoxious. This was being played up in most excellent fashion during the scene in question. So much so, that when "John" delivered one of his lines in a new, but effective sing-songy mocking whine of a way, my own Geoffrey instantly delivered his next line in the exact same tone, much to the laughter of everyone around us.
The great luck of it is...his line, and my own, have the exact same number of syllables. This would not have to be true for it to work, but it certainly works 10 times better given the equal syllables. Plus, it allows me a chance to contrast Geoff's normally cool and collected persona with a moment of obvious irritation, bordering on anger, with Johnny. If that was not enough, it breaks the scene up a little bit. A scene that otherwise can seem a bit "one note".
The director liked it, and it is now part of the show. I am pleased.
I am also pleased with the final exchange I have with Eleanor. Her and I worked out a way in which Geoffrey has to hand her something in the final scene. We had not been sure how to play it, and several versions have been tried. But last night, and tonight, I think we have perfected what we want. At the risk of sounded arrogant, I will say I am very proud of how I handle that part. Almost as proud as the John response I mentioned a moment ago.
Actually, there was a lot to be proud of tonight. For everyone, in fact. Which I will not spoil with too much more technical analysis...except to say that for unknown reasons, our electric candles were burning blue and purple light tonight. The castle was suddenly, in the words of "Henry", Studio 54. (This he mentioned in character during a scene, to give an idea of how things started to proceed near the end.)
The point is, however, we have taken off. Things "clicked" in more moments than one. Many more. And, if we want it to, i feel they will go right on clicking through to opening night.
The Lion in Winter has been unleashed. Are you ready for it?