We ran Act One last night. With only a tiny handful of times when I had to call for a line, I feel confident in projecting that I am off book for the first half of the show.
The bad news is that I am not yet off for the second half, and I have about a week to do it.
It can be done, but for some reason, the first half has gone easier in regards to memorizing than has the second half. I am usually not this far behind. But, as any of you who might have listened to my radio show last night are aware, I have had all kinds of things that have kept me behind on assignments these last two weeks.
Yet, I was one of the first off book for Act One, so I imagine that I will be alright with Act Two. Maybe not totally off book in one week's time, but well on my way.
Nanowrimo is kicking my backside a little more this year than last year...so between catching up with that and studying lines for act 2, I probably will not be doing much else when I am free for the next week or so.
Originally, we were to run the whole show last night. But Act One took longer than expected, due to several considerations.
Firstly, a lot of the blocking was lost because mistakenly we blocked the first several scenes backwards at first. When we were unsure of the nature of the stage. Now that we know how it is being built, we realized all crosses and entrance/exits had to take place on the opposite sides of the stage than were at first set down.
In addition to that, one of the cast members, who has missed every single night that we have gone over these first few scenes, was once again unable to attend rehearsal. So the stage manager had to stand in for him, and that was a halting experience at best, which took more time.
Plus, some light construction work was going on at the same time in the building.
All conspired to slow progress a bit.
I can however report that being without a book in my hands produced the usual effect of liberation and increased creativity with the characters I am playing. Squelched a bit by all of the hindrances mentioned above, but nonetheless a breath of fresh air, as it always is to get to that milestone in a production.
The director did as me, and the actress playing Mrs. Cratchit to not speak in Cockney. I in fact, to be fair, had not been full out Cockney. More like "mockney" as they call it. I have done full throttle Cockney before. In fact, the last time I was in a Christmas Carol, four years ago. But that sort of speech never quite felt write with the words Cratchit was speaking. Particularly the scene in "The Future", after Tiny Tim has died. The vocabulary of those sentiments was never truly Cockney to begin with. So I had watered it down a bit.
So despite the Cratchits being working-class folk, I am not at all bothered about being asked to get rid of the Cockney in favor of a different sort of British accent. The challenge now will be to come up with a voice that is appropriate, and yet distinct from the other 5 that I employ throughout the play. I have already been toying with a few ideas. I will try them tonight when we rehearse again.
Another plus about last night was that the trash from the last demolition had finally been hauled out, giving us a bit more room. We still have not been able to rehearse with the same amount of space in which we will perform, but it was somewhat less cramped.
A table we had planned to used however must be scrapped, as it takes up far too much of the stage.
I look forward to the weekend, when it is planned, the last of the extraneous walls will be demolished, given us all the room we need.
I am not sure what we do tonight. All I know is, I should get to studying lines after I do some of my writing work for today.