Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Come Together"

The sound technician will often play her play list through the sound system, (a laptop connected to a boom box at this point) in order to test everything. One of the songs the played briefly tonight was the Beatles tune, "Come Together".

A very tiny bit of that started to take place last night, but there was a large price to pay for it.

I did not leave the theatre until midnight. I think that is the latest rehearsal I have attended since college.

Still a lot of problems and annoyances. Namely, the construction crew STILL insists on hammering, nailing, sawing, pounding, etc, while we are trying to rehearse. I await still the first rehearsal in the actual venue which will replicate a performance mode. Hopefully tonight. But that is a big hope to hope for at the moment.

I did get my costume. Or part of it. The overall coat for Stanfield, which will serve as my base costume, as I throw on other pieces that will, on a superficial level consistent with the script, indicate the various other characters Stanfield will be portraying throughout the telling of the tale.

We do not have a costume person per se, so many period pieces were borrowed from other theatres. (I am not certain where they came from.) We all basically stood and tried on things until we found something that fit comfortably. I found two such frocks. Both consistent with the period. One was clean and new looking. The other was tattered in places, and looked like it had been repaired more than once.

I opted for the latter believe it or not.

One main reason is that I felt it went with the idea of Stanfield being an artist. A painter, to be specific. And while I know not if the historical Clarkson Stanfield would approve, or if he ever truly suffered from a lack of wealth, I have opted to play him in this production as a good natured, modest person, so typical of many painters that I myself know. In other words, the tattered overcoat works for two reasons. The first being that Stanfield probably did not get wealthy from his paintings. The second, even if he did make a living wage at it, my version of him simply doesn't concern himself much with the finest of clothing and other such trinkets. He is an artist.

So, I am going with the damaged overcoat. Which will probably have to be repaired a little bit to make it show worthy. It will not require much, I am sure.

So I wore that. And despite some delays during the show, this was the first real chance I had to gauge the time I had to make my costume changes backstage, as I became other characters.

It is tight in a few places.

Mainly, the gloves I wear tend to get tied up with one another when I fold them up. So I have often been fiddling with pulling them apart and getting them right side out before going on stage. I made it, but I want it to be smoother. I might store each glove in a separate pocket of the overcoat to prevent that.

This is also one of the most prop laden plays i have ever been in. Especially considering the rather small size of the cast. Objects are everywhere in our already tiny backstage area. But a system is slowly being initiated.

Now, for the acting. (By now it would be easy to forget that I talk about that on this blog as well.)

There were many confusing moments, in regards to entrances, exists, and set pieces not being where they should be. This I really cannot be surprises about...we are two days from opening and did not run the show on the stage we will be actually using until yesterday. I would have been amazed if there had not been major screw ups and delays.

Overall, I was pleased with my ability to improvise around these obstacles while remaining in character. I know that in the beginning one of the actors has never once delivered a line that belongs to him at a certain moment. Ever. Not one single time ever has it occurred, except for the very first read through when we all had books in our hand. (It managed to not happen the other times we had books in our hands. I have no explanation.)

Last night was no different.

So when the silence came, I tried to deliver a line similar to the one that is perpetually missed. I mangled it a bit, but I think I gave enough of the cue. Problem was, once I delivered it, the appropriate actor suddenly decided to deliver it as well.

So that is what it is like sometimes in the show.

Later, I had to add lines just to kill time as late props arrived, or other such dilemmas. I like to hope it looked natural enough.

I did blow it a few times. I forgot some changes to my blocking that had been made the day before, and reverted back to my old movements in a few scenes.

There was also one mistake by somebody else that through me so, that I had to take the rare step of asking for help in the middle of a tech rehearsal. Normally I never do this, but I had no clue, and given the fact that not everyone else has respected the sanctity of the tech rehearsal this week, I saw no reason for me not to make my exception.

I do not think it will happen again. Not that there is much time for it to do so.

On the positive side of things, I believe several scenes went very well. In the very least, they felt good to me. Many of the high energy scenes seemed to propel themselves, and create some sparks of improvisation and nuance. It is widely known here on the blog I love that experience. I would say the scenes in which this happened the most last night were the "happy" Cratchit scene, and the party at Scrooge's nephews house. We went off the track in one or two minor ways but recovered quickly, and nobody in the world would have ever noticed, without a script to follow word for word.

So, is this becoming a perfect show in the final few days? I do not wish to go that far. Not now anyway. But there did seem to be a greater sense of responsibility and attention permeating throughout most of the cast members last night. (Though not all.) That increased desire; that tangible higher dedication to purpose did at least make the experience of being there until midnight more tolerable.

I certainly hope it continues to increase tonight, and for the rest of the run. If it does, things will improve.

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