Saturday, May 01, 2010

Backward, Yet Forward

I am going to label tonight's rehearsal as our best so far in a variety of ways. That is the forward part.

The backward part refers to the fact that we ran the second half of the show before we ran the first half. The director felt we needed the most work on the second half, and given that we did the second half last night as well, figured that the corrections would be fresh in our minds. So we started with the second half, and it does still need work. But an improvement over last night.

It's actually hard for me to say much about the second half of the show, because I do not appear much in it. Just twice. I can mention that today I had a newspaper prop from which I read in my hand for the first time. (I had always assumed at some point another actor in the scene was going to hand me his copy when it came time for that to occur. I learned the other night I was supposed to bring my own on. So I did. That scene feels pretty good to me. Good timing. One of the others in the scene came up to me tonight afterward and mentioned that he thought it felt good too. So that segment is solid.

A few more props have surfaced as well. I finally got to work with a real whiskey decanter and glasses for the scene wherein I pour two drinks. No liquid yet, but I have the instruments. I also have a brand new notepad on which to take dictation from one of the characters in our scene. I still require some check books, and, what is probably my most important prop, a pistol. I have been using a neon yellow water pistol, which I somehow doubt will be the one I have for the show itself.

We also had the live dog with us again tonight. (The dog's owner, our assistant director, thankfully has returned from a medical absence.) Her first appearance is not a problem. We are at a distance from each other. It is her second appearance that must give me pause. She sits right next to the couch I on which I sit for the scene, and also happens to be shedding at this time. For a brief moment some of the hair got on my pants because she decided to take up residence there for a few moments. I felt perhaps just an ever so slight irritation in my eyes during and after that scene, which could have been the dog, or could have been a coincidence. My instinct is that I will be all right, but the shedding does complicate things. I have a few more rehearsals of that scene to find out. I will research non-drowsy anti-histamines, just to be safe.

I got measured for costumes today after my final exit from the second half. (Which remember we were running first tonight.) I tried on a few suits. One fit near perfectly. One was tight, and one I was basically swimming in. So you had a Goldilocks and the three suits thing going on. I believe I need four suits for this show, if I read the paper correctly, due to the various days that are covered in the play. I haven't had to change costumes that many times in a play for quite some time.

The first half of the show I think went very well, and I am not the only one. Despite it being later in the evening, with fatigue starting to set in, the first half was filled with energy and some really good timing in several segments. The director repeated what she said a few rehearsals ago in regard to the first half...that it was starting to look like a show. And indeed it is. The first half is starting to feel like a show as well.

Plus, almost like clockwork as the final two weeks of the show have come upon us, many in the cast became instantly more comfortable with one another tonight. That second to last weekend of rehearsal often seems to be a watershed moment in a play. If you are not already feeling socially comfortable with your cast something about that weekend tends to make it happen. The reverse is also true. If it has not happened by then, it often will not. The good news is that for this show it seems to have happened. And as I have talked about before, quite quickly.

There is a 20 minute scene the starts off the play, and during that time about half the cast remains off stage, I being among that group. So there was plenty of time for those of us waiting for our first scenes to be cutting it up a bit with one another in the green room. By the time that scene was over I felt more comfortable with everyone in the show. I don't discount the possibility that such personal comfort led to the second part of the evening going so well on stage.

Tomorrow there are to be two shifts for painting the set. One in the morning, and one in the afternoon. The morning one just isn't going to happen for me. Not that early. But I am making every effort to get to the afternoon shift.

This has in some ways been a fast moving rehearsal process for me. One of the fastest of all my shows, in fact.  I wonder why it has seemed to go so fast. I think part of the reason is that the cast and the company seem to be rather low-key compared to some places I have worked. We of course have not reached tech week yet, which is bound to be hectic. That's just how it is. But when I think that we open in a mere 13 days, I blink a few times. Still much to do. But so much has gotten accomplished already.

Next rehearsal is on Monday.

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