Monday, November 17, 2008

Homing Signal Aquired

Alright, so I am not certain that is actually a term. But I do know that the spirit behind it applied to today's rehearsal.

In other words, for the first time, I felt that much longed for synergy within a cast putting on a play. It is early yet, and the production has a long way to go. Yet between more and more scenes taking place off book, and a consistently spacious rehearsal space, (see previous post), that first sense of connectivity between the script and the individual performances of the actors was present for me today.

That intangible extra that I have oft written of here on the blog, (both in the practice and in the breach.) When you start to feel that things are at last unifying.

I have to say this was one of the more subtle dawnings of the aforementioned phenomena that I have experienced in my theatre career. Perhaps because I was not expecting today's rehearsal to be much different than the last few. I am not off book for act 2, and neither are most of the other actors. Not to mention the overall uncertainty about our new theatre space.

So suffice to say, it was good news, and a good feeling this afternoon.

I don't want to over analyze why it began to day, in fear of jinxing it. But suffice to say that what I have mentioned probably had something to do with it.

It turns out I am further off book for act 2 than I thought. I initially felt I was falling quite behind. But after running a few speeches by myself before we got started today, I found that a good portion of my act 2 lines are actually in my head already, somewhere. Knowing that many of them come from the source material helps of course, (I have read that many many times.) But the rhythm of the lines is starting to sink in. I now feel more confident than I did previously about my ability to be off book by mid next week.

From a more technical standpoint, two things that remained to be blocked, or in this case, choreographed, were taken care of today. At least the initial sketching of same.

The first was a game of blind man's buff which take place at Fred's house during the Christmas Present scenes. As Topper, I am to be blindfolded, spun about, and led to "tag" the object of Topper's affections...Mrs. Fred's sister. (as she is called in the script.) A lot of running around and frantic raucous fun has to be present in the scene, and so who runs where, and how I stumbled about the room had to be worked out rather carefully.

I will not actually be blind...I will be able to see through the blindfold. Yet there is still much movement that needs to take place in a small space, and the scene requires more work.

The other scene to be choreographed today was the group dance engaged in by the guests at the Fezziwig party during Christmas Past. Given that I play the Ghost of Christmas Past, I, thank all that is holy, do not have to dance in the scene. Which is just as well. If any of you have followed this blog from the beginning, you know I can't learn dances to save my life.

After rehearsal, the director told me she was quite pleased with the qualities I am giving Bob Cratchit. Her highest compliment was that I was "making him human" in unique ways. This in fact has been one of my goals, not just with Cratchit, but with all of these characters. They are such a part of our collective subconscious that the temptation to phone them in is high. I am determined not to do so, and to hear the director say that I am making Cratchit both unique, and real, is quite satisfying.

Something else that is satisfying is the progress of the new theatre. Today was a major work day which started early in the morning. (I did not attend this particular day, given that getting up early enough to do so would have proven difficult for me this morning. Plus, I put in several hours the previous day.) I was not in the theatre today, but I was told that the last of the major extraneous walls finally came down today, and that, in the words of one of the Company's founders, "The place is starting to actually look like a performance space."

Again, a long way to go before we can call it ready, and little time in which to make it so. But I feel that having the building start to look like a theatre will lift everyone's spirits, and excite them to work extra hard to complete the remaining construction work. I personally can hardly wait to experience rehearsing in the building as was originally intended.

And then of course there is the set itself to build. But first things first.

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