Another "informal" rehearsal/review session for Romeo and Juliet at the theater today. I am really grateful for these chances to just drop in and work on little pieces and casually discuss specific aspects of the play, without being under the gun of a timed formal rehearsal. Especially since today we were able to use the actual stage area, which previously was not avialble.
I have only been to two such informal sessions, yet already so much has been learned. Not just by me, but by others. And the entire production has benefited from it in a very specific way today.
It all started during a break we were all taking. (About five cast members were available today.) In the director's vision of the play, Fate (actually personified by an actress, along with several of her minions) move about, unseen, and cause very specific things to happen, to forward the plot, and bring the players in this drama to their respective destinies.
It occurred to me that in order for me to really delve into the highly spiritual character of the Friar, I wanted to know if, within the universe of the play, God, as an entity, existed, or if in fact, contrary to religion, Fate and her minions were in fact at the top of the pyramid of existence. I wondered because I wanted to know if where the Friar, and others like him, were trying to go was attainable, or if the entire focal point of what he seeks from his spiritual journey is a fake.
Though I did not expect it to, this led to a very interesting and probing 30 minute or so discussion. The topic, in addition to my specific question about my role, was essentially about the role of Fate vs. that of God. (However He be named.) I obviously cannot reproduce in detail the nature of such a conversation here, but I will state that what emerged was a notion of comparing what happens when people put their belief in a fickle Fate, and what happens when people put their Faith in an Almighty of some sort. It became clear that the play, particularly it;s ending, could be used as an allegory for this metaphysical competition, as it were. Between Fate and her minions in their efforts to control the world, and the greater truth of a more power Universal, represented in the person of Friar Laurence.
This decision, which evolved over the conversation, with the input of everyone present, became the genesis of a new tableau of sorts for the last scene. A scene which has the famous final line of the play, (For never was there a story of more woe, than this of Juliet, and her Romeo), now being uttered by yours truly. As it stands now anyway.
The potential symbolism and impact excited everyone present.
I assure you I did not lobby for any particular chance, and I certainly did not attempt to obtain the final line of the piece. It all came about quite organically. And that is why I am so amazed at what can sometimes evolve when people are free to explore the nature of a production in a casual yet productive manner.
On a less profound note, I rehearsed the one and only scene I have with Parris, since he was present this afternoon. A stand-in Juliet and I then ran the scene wherein the Friar delivers a very long speech, which essentially lays out the entire plan, with the potion, the crypt, and all of that. (A speech I am not looking forward to tackling, since it is both boring, and also lacking in anything poetic of any kind.) Fortunately, other things have been added to the scene to make it less interminable...both for me and for future audiences.
It is starting to be quite exciting. I hope that we have full houses for our two night only engagement. (Please, if you would like to see this show, contact me through this blog, and I will give you more information.)