Friday, March 26, 2010

"This Doesn't Feel Like a First Rehearsal."

The title for this post is a direct quotation from the director of "Heaven Can Wait". And I agree with her wholeheartedly. Though we only block and ran one scene, it's progression was more rapid than most first rehearsals which I have attended.

You sometimes get the sense early on that a group is going to do quite well together. The age old "chemistry" thing. It may be too early to know for sure, and tonight was after all rehearsal for only five members of the 15 member cast, but early indications are that we are headed for good things as we march on towards more full rehearsals. Everyone on stage today was doing good things, and taking direction very well.

I have to say those days are fast approaching. I have less time to get off book for this show than I have had in a while. I can do it, and I will start working on it this very night at some point, (reading my lines into my recording device), but I have about a week less to get it done than I have been used to for the last several shows.

It remains strange to be running rehearsals with total strangers in a basically brand new venue. I almost expected someone I know from the other theatres to show up at some point.

And it was so quiet tonight! I don't know if it was because there were only 5 actors present, or if those five happen to be quiet people. Or if as a rule rehearsals with this company tend to be quieter in comparison to some of the other companies for which I have performed. Perhaps even it was because we were the only people in the building, whereas there is usually at least one other group doing something in the other venues while a show is rehearsing. But it just felt so quiet in this place.

Now that the set from the previous play is gone, I can get a sense of the whole performance space. It is quite deep. I would say just about as deep as the full sized theatres I have performed in, such as the Old Opera House. (See previous posts and links section.) Not as long as the bigger venues, and less backstage space, but still plenty of room to go upstage.

As for my actual rehearsing, I am doing the right thing so far, according to the notes I got at the end of the evening. The director said my character was "so slimy", and that she is really enjoying some of the small hand gestures and facial expressions I am coming up with so far. I am glad she noticed this because I have been toying with a few things, some of which I utilized while running the scene. It's still the broad strokes, but it would appear those strokes are headed in the right direction.

I have a stage kiss in this first scene. We didn't run it tonight. Nothing I haven't done before. I didn't think to ask my opposite if she has stage kissed before. But either way that was nothing that we had to work out tonight.

I also didn't have to work with a cigarette, as the script calls for. The director has eliminated it from out production. While I can see some great character moments I could create with the cigarette, I don't actually smoke, and a lit cigarette is sort of a pain in the ass anyway. Perhaps there can be some other prop with which I can fiddle during my first entrance, and subsequent moments throughout the play.

Finally, a major decision the director made was to set the play in 1979, as opposed to the late 1930's or early 1940's, as written. Pursuant to that, some line changes will be made, but those have not been finalized yet. So as I sketch out my character, I need to consider those time frames.

Next rehearsal is on Monday, where we plan to run all of Act I several times. The acts are short in this play, come to think of it, so we have gotten to full act rehearsals very early on. I am going to see if I can be off book for the scene I ran tonight by the time Monday's rehearsal is underway.

Keep checking back, loyal blog readers.

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