Last night's rehearsal was productive in some ways, though not without some unfortunate bumps.
The "All" on the schedule which the director intended to mean all cast members was misunderstood, and quite a fewer than everybody showed up. Later this led to a bit of unpleasantness between the director and one of the actors. That is their business, but I mention it here in brief simply because it was a significant moment during rehearsal.
But far more moments were spent working on the play. The biggest thing we worked on was, as I mentioned it would be in my last entry, Act III Scene 7. In that scene Buckingham brings the crowd to Richard, and the two play-act this entreaty for Richard to take the crown. (More for the sake of the crowd than for anything else.) It is my single largest scene, by both lines and stage time, so it's important I get it down well, and soon.
The good news is that I am close to off book for about the first third of it. Though I carried my book with me for the whole scene when we ran it last night, I could have done several of the speeches without it if I had needed to. But in order for the evening to go more efficiently, I didn't try to go without it. I plan to work on this scene more than most in the next two weeks or so before off book day. The repetition will of course help get me home with this one, as with all of them.
Ideally, had the entire cast been present, we were going to make them all part of this aforementioned crowd of commoners come to see Richard. There were not enough people to do this effectively last night, so there was talk of staging it tonight instead.
What we did of the scene worked, I suppose. The director wanted it more frenzied than it had been previously. As though Buckingham is rushing on just ahead of this crowd, probably having formulated a plan during his run. Initially I had been playing it that Buckingham was coming up with a solution as he spoke, but I think this new way works better. It certainly keeps the action moving along at a good clip, which is the director's goal for that scene and a few before it. I have no doubt that by the time this big scene is over I will be ready to take a seat with a bottle of water for quite a while. Luckily I will have about a ten minute break in which to do so before I appear on stage next.
There are two small scenes before this big one. Right before it is a single monologue by a scrivener. Before the scrivener is a short scene between Buckingham and Richard. A scene which I am off book for, though once again I kept my book with me to keep things running smooth. I enjoy this small scene. I have a short speech during which Buckingham expresses the slightest bit of humor and playfulness. Certainly more so than he does anywhere else in the entire play. ("Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian..."). So I look forward to playing around with that scene as well.
Later in the evening, after more people showed up, we choreographed a dumb show which will open the production. It shows, briefly, the events just before the start of this play. It also gives the characters a few moments to reveal who they are to the audience before their first official entrance. My sense is that it will be an intriguing visual for our audiences.
I also stayed a little bit after rehearsal to watch some small combat stunts a few actors were working on. No reason other than I was interested in seeing that.
Tonight we run all of Act V.