Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Back

The start of the second and final weekend of this show was notable for a few things, not the least of which was a more subdued atmosphere. It may just have been me of course, but everyone just seemed more laid back last night. No doubt three days rest, and know we had a full weekend under our belt was to thank for this in large part.

It was quieter in the green room most of the time. Less tension. I think the fact that it was a cool night helped a great deal. It was actually cooler outside than inside for a change.

The performance itself also seemed tempered a bit, which I suppose could be see as either good or bad depending on one's point of view. Yet in this case it could not be avoided. "Guildenstern" was suffering from a sore throat and weakened voice. Despite it giving out somewhat near the end of the play, his voice was intelligible the entire time. But the actor's usual intense, high energy voice variations and volume were not possible. Hence the play took on a more intimate approach if you will.

Our audience was again small. 14 by my quick headcount through the curtain. Someone out there was laughing quite a bit though, which I am sure helps things a long. I still hope for a bigger crowd at least tonight, however.

My own experience was also relaxed going in. I have not been unsatisfied with any of my three previous performances, but something always seemed a bit missing. I always seemed to be looking for it. Tonight, heading into the play with such ease I think helped me smooth some of the rougher edges. I am willing to say that last night was my best performance of the run so far. Hamlet just came to me, and I proceeded to present him with even more confidence than usual. It is a small part, but I could not have asked for much more in terms of how I felt on stage. There was no moment of transcendence to another world or any such thing, but then again that is rarely my goal when I perform. No, I just felt that my movements, diction, cadence, motivation, and enunciation all blended into the best mix thus far last night. If the remaining two shows go as well as last night, the entire thing will be quite the success.

I also added a bit to something I started doing on Sunday. I tap at, "clean", and listen to the wall near me during my first entrance with Polonious, wherein Hamlet is pretending to be mad. I thought it added something to Hamlet's "antic disposition". I don't think most people have understood why I do it, but it give the scene more depth for me. When Polonious leaves the stage, I stop, as I believe Hamlet would do. After all, in the real play, just as Polonious leaves Hamlet utters, "These tedious old fools."

Even "To be or not to be..." was timed, in silence, to near perfection to coincide with what else was happening on stage. I began my entrance mouthing "for who would bear the whips and scorns of time...". That seemed to be good timing. At least last night. We will see if it will be again.

I still get nervous in Act Three when I have to move that huge umbrella and deck chair in the dark, but it went fine tonight. I did what I tried on Sunday, and I think at long last I have, knock on wood, found the rhythm to make that work.

One of only two goofs to which I was privy were discovering someone's cigarette lighter on the stage during one of my scenes. It was fortunate that I end that scenes with a low bow before exiting. I merely grabbed it on the bow and stood up as normal to exit. I could have left it there, but I thought given the nature of its round shape someone might slip on it.

The other goof was me having to exchange the letter in Act Three in the dark. Not a major problem there. Just had to move slowly and make the glow tape my friend.

Coming back to a show to start the second weekend of a two weekend run is always an interesting experience. Depending on how things have gone up to that point, the few days off between weekend can either seem like two weeks, or a mere few hours. But regardless there often seems to be a different feel to a show on the second weekend, and the second Friday in particular. A cast can either use this or be thrown by it. In this case, I think most of the cast used it to their advantage.

History indicates that in about 85% of the cases, the second Saturday is the best performance for such runs. What will this second Saturday bring?

No comments: