So the week of doing a single act per night came to an end earlier today, with our work on Act V of Richard III.
In the hours leading up to rehearsal, I had been, (and remain somewhat even now) preoccupied by the Colorado cinema massacre. It suddenly seemed a bit unnerving to work on a play with so much gallows humor. I even sent a brief email to my cast mates earlier in the day telling them to not take it personally if I didn't engage in such humor today.
It turns out there wasn't much of that today anyway. I doubt it had much to do with my message, though. It was just more of a subdued start to the evening at the theatre. Our director did mention the shootings, drawing a paralell to Richard, in that we can never be sure whaqt makes someone a monster.
Our director also mentioned to us at the start of rehearsal that perhaps in the last few rehearsals we as a group may have been overthinking the play. Thinking and analysis are great, she told us, but emphasized that perhaps we have done enough thinking for a while, and encouraged us tonight to get back into feeling our characters instead. She even requested us to take a few minutes in silene to reconnect with who our characters were before starting the official rehearsal.
I was happy for the chance to do so. I do a lot of that anyway, but having a specific time set aside just before I went on (I open Act V) was quite helpful. As we get later into rehearsals I will be doing more of that sort of centering to start off.
The speech, (Buckingham's monologue just before being led off to execution) did indeed feel better today that it has so far. "Beautiful", in the director's gracious words. I don't know if I achieved that in my own mind just yet, but I have no problem conceding that it felt better today than ever before.
It felt less rushed. A little looser, yet also deeper. Natural. I hit some tone changes that i'd been missing during some earlier runs of this speech. For the first time I started to feel as though I were conveying Buckingham's sense of both discovery and quiet, dignified resignation to his lot. I think sometimes of Hamlet's "certain providence in the fall of a sparrow" line. Not an exact match, but a certain similarity in theme which gives an added weight to this speech.
We ran Act V three times today, skipping the combat scenes which have not been choreogrpahed yet. Each of the three times the speech felt quite good. It would appear the director agreed that is was good in the subsequent runnings as well.
Also run through in Act V was the scene wherein I play the ghost of Buckingham. It was difficult to truly rehearse that scene, however, as three of the "ghosts" were not present this evening. But we made do, and I am off book for it, though I have not played around with ghostliness much yet. I want to do so in the coming days, and maybe talk to the director about just how other-worldly I am allowed to appear in that scene.
So, in all, a productive, and enjoyable rehearsal. Afterwrds we had some time left, so the director staged a few moments from the play so she could take some photographs for a website. I haven't seen them, but when they are up, I will link to it here.
And now a few days off. And the next time I go to the theatre, it will be the deadline for ebing off book...I will have to work extra hard to get Act III down by then, but given that we can call for line for a while after that, I think I will be all right. It may be rough for a few days, but I will get it.