Thursday, July 07, 2011

Altered Pants and A Thousand Words

The local photographer was on hand for last night's rehearsal. I imagine his pictures will appear in either tonight's local paper or tomorrow's. I am not certain. I was in several of the shots he took, but whether or not I will actually be in the paper, who can say? I have actually ended up in that paper a few times, but usually the picture has not been good enough to make it worth me buying a copy for my records. Oh well.

As for the rehearsal itself, I have to correct something I wrote in my previous post. I had mentioned that last night would be the first rehearsal with the entire cast. I was wrong. One of the players was still missing last night, making the pantomime scenes a bit awkward yet. Which means that tonight will be the only time in the entire process that the whole cast has rehearsed together. And of course it will be the only time that happens before we open tomorrow. Again, none of the pantomime really effects what I do much, but I imagine all of the players would have preferred more rehearsals with a full compliment, if such had been possible.

Firstly, my costume issue. After having the snap moved on my pants, the fit somewhat better, but still felt a bit loose. Fortunately, I was able to roll the waist up a bit, and that kept them in place better than before. So I was able to proceed with worrying too much about them. Near the end it was a bit problematic, what with all of the running around waiting for pirates. But that was a brief moment, and didn't give me any huge problems.

Also, the top being a size too small for me, I basically cannot bend down or gesticulate with my arms in any fashion, or the snaps in the back will come undone. That is rather inconvenient given the fact that I am unable to fasten them myself. I require assistance, and I can't have that happen on stage. I just need to hope that each time I am on stage and the snaps become undone, (and they will...I have determined it isn't possible for them to stay fastened if I decide to move at any time), at least enough of them will remain in place to keep the top on. If not, I will simply remove it in character, and toss it out of the way. (This is why I hate complicated costumes.)

As for heat, I am not as blazing hot under the lights so far as I had feared. With people in the house it will be hotter in the tiny space, but for right now I don't experience anything that a brief stay in front of one one of the green room fans can't alleviate.  I don't have time to remove the complicated top at all during Act 2, so this is fortunate.

I have been in a bit of a plateau with my performance the last night or two. I don't feel any drastic improvements taking place, and maybe in this context I have peaked in what I can give the performance. Yet I can also say that I have not experience any major set backs either. (Knock on wood again.) I do feel that with an audience I will have more to offer. not that I advocate doing any less than one's best in rehearsals. But try as an actor might, they simply are not going to feel exactly the same, or as exactly engaged in a show without an audience as they do once somebody is out in the in the house. They are, after all, a character in their own right.

That being said, I will make every effort tonight to be extra focused on what I am doing. Speaking slowly. Enunciating. Trying to decrease any tentative moments. Remembering what I have told myself from the start; I am still playing Hamlet, and the rest of the show deserves me doing so well.

Another thing about an audience being there is that the entire building will be quieter. There will be a more serious aura to the place. I don't mean to suggest that the cast is not currently taking their job seriously. In most cases they are. But everyone's focus tends to tighten once performances have begun, for much the same reasons as I mentioned in the previous paragraph. And when that happens, I find it somewhat easier to remove myself from my surroundings when the need arises.

We blocked the curtain call last night. The leads had suggested that they not show up for it, given that, as the name of the piece reminds us, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. But our director rejected the notion. (And truth be told I am not certain how serious the suggestion was.) Not only because many of the other people bowing also play dead characters, but because she believes a curtain call is for actors, and not characters. I have always very much agreed with that view. I have thankfully only been in one or two shows that required "character calls", and I didn't enjoy the concept. I like to bow at the end of a show as myself.

Our light and sound crew was in place last night. I have worked with both before. I thought the director was going to run lights, but there were no disasters. A few snags that have to be worked out, but I am confident that tonight they will be. That is the point of tech week after all. Though I will point out that this tech week has felt less like a tech week than most shows I have been in. I am not sure why. I guess because it isn't that complicated from a tech stand point.

The only issue I am having is moving an umbrella and chair in the dark, and getting into place. Believe it or not, I am a bit more nervous about doing that than I am about delivering my lines in the performance. I just don't want to fall off a platform or drop a huge umbrella back stage in front of people. Another knock on wood.

I have not kept exact records, but I estimate the show is running close to two hours 30 minutes, and two hours 45 minutes. Getting a bit faster each night, but still quite a long evening, both for actors and I fear for patrons. The script itself is longer, yes, but I still think we as a group are taking a bit longer to perform it than would be ideal. But that may just be my own perception from the perimeter. Certainly it has gotten better than it was a mere few days ago. It is hard for an audience to sustain interest passed the two hour, 15 minute mark for most standard shows. If not counting the intermissions we could as some point reach that, I think we would be in good shape. I will try to time it tonight.

One more rehearsal.

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