Tonight was the first read-through for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. (Henceforth referred to as RGD as necessary.) Though over half of the cast was missing due to scheduling conflicts. In fact, the schedule will be tight throughout the whole process due to many conflicts from all parties. (One reason we didn't start until today.) So there won't be a full read through with everyone present. We need to jump right into blocking rehearsals on Wednesday.
I have only perused the schedule so far, but it appears that despite my smaller part, I won't have many days off this month, though I will probably be able to go home early a few times. This because most of the play consists of only the two main characters talking to one another, and they will probably be the last to leave rehearsal on any given night, so as to give the rest of us something to do from the start of the evening. At least until we get into running entire acts. And we will reach that point after only about two weeks, as opposed to the usual four or so. Again, it will be somewhat condensed because of the schedule.
I anticipate no particular problems with my few lines. If I buckle down I could probably be off book within a week or two. But during the break between acts today, the director confirmed what I had already suspected; I will appear in several scenes, sometimes for an extended period of time, without any lines. Presumably for some of these I will be silently performing, in the background, some of the lines from the actual Hamlet, while being observed be the main characters. Other times I won't be saying anything at all, but rather just establishing Hamlet's presence in the background. Though I have no idea what exactly I'll be doing and when, I look forward to doing this. Authentic character presentation when in the silent background is a skill in which I take great pride, and one that is often ignored.
The best part of it all will be that I will be, in essence, creating Hamlet. Maybe not as deeply as one playing the real role of Hamlet, but there is plenty of room to explore what Hamlet should and should not be, within the confines of the director's expectations. Besides, you can't do the background justice, if you are not as an actor, treating it as though it were the foreground.
I report for rehearsal next on Wednesday for just such a scene. I appear, and move about, but don't say anything yet. I wasn't even aware I made an entrance in that scene until today. (I have only skimmed the script until tonight.)
The script is not bad. I didn't find it as funny as some of my cast mates did, but it has its clever moments. I am looking forward to seeing how it all develops.