That is what I did for most of the rehearsals the last two days.
Thursday was the first night where most of the cast showed up. And let me tell you, in the small theatre, (only half of which we are allowed to use for practice space), the cast is large. To save time, the director split the group into four different groups, each working on or discussing a relevant part of the play in which they were involved.
I was assigned the task of going around to the various groups, filling in for missing actors, letting people bounce ideas off of me, or in some cases, suggesting blocking. Just a freelance temporary assistant director of sorts. Not making any decisions of course, but doing what I could to facilitate what the different groups were trying to do. I like to think I managed to be of use to someone. If so, than I do not mind that none of the Friar Laurence scenes were run. Contributing to the show is contributing to the show, after all.
We also roughly staged the Capulet party scene, wherein everyone in the cast appears. I must think of good motivations, or as the director says, a personal story as to why the Friar might be there. I have some ideas. Bottom line is, he seeks to serve, as is befitting a true friar.
Today, (Friday) I did a little bit of the same thing, but spend more of my time going over some of my own stuff. I went over a very short scene I appear in, (skipping, for everyone else's sake, the longest, most boring monologue that I have. Something I have not even begun to memorize.) Then once or twice I went over, for the sake of someone else, a scene wherein I have about two lines.
Then I was called out to the stage with Romeo and the Nurse, to run through what is probably my favorite scene in the play. At least so far, (though the ending, depending on how we stage it may prove to be an even more rewarding challenge.)
The scene the director had me run tonight, with the other two performers, was the scene after which Romeo has killed Tybalt, Juliet's cousin. He whines and cries a bit about being banished, and the Friar chides him. The nurse arrives later on. The whole scene culminates in what is almost certainly my favorite speech of mine in this play. The Friar basically shames Romeo for being so emo (a term the director used for his mood, and an apt word I think). This after he wrestles a knife from Romeo's hands with which he would surely kill himself. The friar has had enough at that point and shows, for what is basically the only time in the play, total anger.
I am off book for that scene, though I did carry my script for the first part of it. I had to micro-check a few things. But not that wonderful monologue. I have been working on that in it;s own right probably more than the rest of the scene.
"Hold they desperate hand!
Art thou a man? Thy form cries out thou art..."
Those familiar with the play know which speech it is.
I nailed it without forgetting anything. It felt very invigorating to give the speech. I find giving Shakespearean speeched with that much forcefulness almost has an affect on the body and mind akin to singing rock music to me. not the content or cadence of course, but the mental/physiological effects on the mind and body are at least kissing cousins to those of rock and roll.
The speech could still use some work, but I am very pleased with how it is coming. Plus the build up that is naturally embedded by Shakespeare into that scene gives it even more potency. Plus Romeo (the actor) is doing good things in the scene as well. When he and I are both off book, it should be quite the scene. Particularly intense in such a small theatre. I cannot wait to run the scene again. And again and again.
There may or may not be an informal rehearsal tomorrow evening. But even if it does happen, I sadly think I shall not be able to attend. We shall see. But the next official rehearsal is on Monday, at 7.
Brief talk of costumes. Looks like no robe or hood for me, but an all black suit, with a vestment or something of some kind, marked with the colors of both Houses, (silver and gold) to indicate my overall neutrality.
The Friar is taking great shape now. It is becoming a more exciting role with each passing day for me. I am very pleased to have it.