Thursday, June 09, 2011

Enter Hamlet

First blocking rehearsal tonight. Given that a few actors could not make it tonight, we skipped a large scene in the middle of Act One, but otherwise blocked all of the first act. (It should be pointed out that on paper this script has three acts and not two.)

This director has admitted that she is not fond of giving blocking directions. She prefers to keep things general, and relies a lot on what feel natural for the actor. She has some instructions for us, and will have more as time goes on, but it will in most cases probably be a play of minimal blocking.

Especially for me in Act One. Hamlet enters and grabs Ophelia by the hand, and lets forth a sigh that is "piteous" and such. In fact the stage directions for that moment are almost word for word from Ophelia's speech in Shakespeare wherein she describes to her father what had just happened between the two of them in her sewing room. In other words a silent scene which doesn't appear in the source material. That will require some work in order to give anyone the impression that anything is happening. But this was an early rehearsal.

My next moment, also silent, is when I simply cross the stage reading a book, and then exit. This is also referenced in Shakespeare. It would be the moment when right before Hamlet reaches the lobby, where he is discovered by Polonious, the King and the Queen, pretending to be crazy all along.

Finally I enter again in what would be near the end of the interrogation Polnious gives to Hamlet. ("...if like a crab, you could go backward.") There will eventually be a high platform and ramp down which I will walk for this scene. The director isn't sure exactly what it will look like, but that is the overall plan. Right now the entrance to stage left is blocked, so we just had to fake it.

After a brief break, we ran all of those scenes again.

"Guildenstern" was there today. He and I are friends and have been in several plays together over the years. He only recently came to the realization that this will be a shortened rehearsal process, and indeed it will be. I have to say I think I would have had some fun in one of the two lead roles, but in this case I am somewhat thankful for the smaller role. I won't have as much to work on in these four weeks. That, and the small role being Hamlet doesn't hurt either.

My next rehearsal is not until Sunday. It has been a while since I had that many days between rehearsals. I am therefore going to see if I can get off book for my few lines by then. I may not get all the way off, but I should make a pretty good dent in it if I keep at it.

Much of that time should also be spent trying to get into the character of Hamlet. As I mentioned before I may not have the time, on stage or off to explore the character as much as I would like to. However, it is Hamlet, and I think some interesting exploration can still take place.

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