Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oil On the Machine

Well, we moved the choreographer to tears tonight. And not because the dance was bad. (It was the break-up scene.) So I would say that the night had quite its share of fine acting moments.

Indeed the whole night was even better than last night. The crowd, though slightly smaller was a bit warmer. More responsive. Which is good, because I think we gave them some of our best stuff in more than one place tonight.

The top of Act One, which tends to suffer from dragging, had more energy tonight. It just felt like there was more pop in some of the speeches and exchanges. It was the most vibrant that my Frederick Dickens had felt in a while. Part of that may have to do with the fact that I was able to get a half an hour or so to myself before getting dressed; an option I did not have in the rushed madness of being late for opening night. But an equal or greater part had to do with the conspiracy of a warm crowd and a group of actors that are obviously very much at ease now with virtually the entire show.

There were some minor flubs here and there. I got tongue tired for a moment once or twice. A line here and there was dropped but quickly covered. What I call "invisible" flubs, because they get covered well and fast enough that there is no way an audience would know any better without a script in front of them. If there were any "visible flubs", I was and remain unaware of what they were.

So, going through things in order. The opening I have already talked about. The first scene with Fred, which has never really suffered from any major problems continued to feel near perfect. My exit got laughs again, and I imagine it often will.

The dance, both the fast one and my waltz went well. I feel we have the group dance nailed down, though it is probably still a bit low on energy.

Then the break up scene. (Which as I said, moved our choreographer.) It continues to go very well. I get the feeling my opposite was more happy with her performance last night, but I have no complaints about it whatsoever. Never have, actually. For my part it continues to feel more and more natural. I have had to walk a line with the scene. Scrooge must be the changed, shallow and greedy Scrooge. That is why Belle is leaving him. However there should still be a palpable sense of loss, and a bit of surprise on the part of Scrooge. Confusion and some disbelief over the fact that this engagement, this life plan which has been in place for so long, borne out of what was once love, is coming to an end. He perhaps feels sustained by the memory of a feeling, more than any actual feeling at this point. At least that is how I have been trying to play him.

Which means he can neither be totally cold and mechanical as he is when an old man. But he can not be a blubbering heart broken fellow either. Perhaps he wishes she would have changed in the same way he had, and is lamenting that as well. Either way he must still show some humanity in the scene, in the way we have been playing it. I think in the last two nights I have taken a step or two towards the man with some remains of emotion, as opposed to the man who has none left. And I think the choice had added the depth to the scene that perhaps had been lacking in some of the later rehearsals. (To my end of the scene, that is.)

The first Cratchit scene is still just...there. Not much to tell about it, really.

The second Fred scene is the one scene that I admit still causes me a slight case of nerves right before I go on. My longest scene with the most moving parts if you will, there had been a few potholes in that scene in the last few rehearsals. It has my longest sustained speeches of the entire play, and some of the quickest dialogue between several characters. There was a minor flub in it today which was covered, but for a moment I admit to being afraid we might spin out. Thankfully we did not. But there would have been little I could do. All of my lines are the result of questions in that scene. The other must course correct when needed.

Otherwise that scene continues to improve, despite my slight nervousness before hand.

At long last the Old Joe scene, which for whatever reason was one of the last scenes to become totally processed in my mind, feel totally natural for me. I now even have a system for taking all of the stuff off stage at the end of it that works. Everything about the scene, (which I think most of my scene partners don't care for) is smooth sailing for me now. Plus there is a slight ham-factor involved. I have to say I enjoy the scene a lot.

I made an effort to put more emotion into the second Cratchit scene. (In the future, when Tim is dead.) Tried to make him more weary, and lost in his grief than I have previously, when I was playing the "brave-face" Peter. I think I like the dazed and mourning one better. I think I will keep it.

Such are the main moments for me. (Though a minor moment wherein I use a hand gesture at the end of the play did get a few laughs.)

As one of my fellow actors so rightly told one of the children in the show today, there is no such thing as a perfect show, and there isn't. But most everything went right today and yesterday, and I am starting to really get inside the show, to coin a phrase. It doesn't always happen on the first night, as much as we wish it would. But on the other side, sometimes it doesn't happen at all. I am glad it happened earlier for this show. I will not be complacent for the final 4 shows by any means. But I am going to try to enjoy the high comfort levels we are all experiencing.

Matinee tomorrow, then a few days off before pick-up rehearsal.

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