The bad news is that with two weeks of rehearsal left in Richard III, our set must be torn down, and painted over for a kids show that will be taking place in the same venue. Efforts to compromise and prevent this were unsuccessful. So we will be rehearsing Shakespeare near the end of this process amidst the colors and characters of Dr. Seuss...the director doesn't sound too worried about it. I think it is a gut blow. One can stand up and fight again after a gut blow, but not without some wheezing and staggering about. I'd say that is where we will be for a while. Not much more can be said about that.
Onto better news. Rehearsal for the second half went well, despite missing two actors. Of particular note was the ghost scene. I had mentioned earlier in the week that the director had some new ideas for it. With the relevant actors present last night those ideas were tested out, and deemed a success. The changes will be kept.
Not that any of them affect my part in the scene. Like so many other aspects of Buckingham's presence in this production, my character's ghost will enter and behave somewhat differently than the rest. I won't get into too much detail about that, but it is nothing wild. Just that I will be set somewhat apart from the rest of the group of specters, physically.
Back to the beginning of the second act is probably my second most important moment in the play. When Richard reveals, much to Buckingham's internal disgust, that he wants the child princes murdered. I must find a way to express that disgust. I haven't hit it quite right just yet. I need to internalize the moment more than I am, i think. The scene and mood changes so quickly, my performance has to start catching up. I believe that it can, but I need to start making a more conscious effort for it to do so. Not that I have gotten any complaints about it, but inside I know I can and should do better there.
Later in that scene, (and I believe I have talked about this before here on the blog), I allow Buckingham to express rage for the first and only time in this play. And it is brief. One sentence, in fact. The director wants me to build up to that rage more than I am doing now, so has suggested I express the rage on one or two words at the end of the sentence, as opposed to the whole sentence. I will try that the next time. (I also have to work on screaming from my diaphragm, and not my throat. I have been getting better at that, though I still need work. I will start practicing that at home when I can.
The only other thing I do in the second half is my execution speech, wherein Buckingham ponders the notion of the universe as full of karmic justice, as he faces the "determined respite" of his wrongs. If you have been following this blog you know that I started work on this speech early on in the process, so I could have it down cold as soon as possible. The scene with Buckingham pleaded with Richard to take the crown in Act III, or even the scene I just described above with Richard turning on Buckingham may be more important to the audience.
But this final speech by Buckingham while still alive is most important to me. I think it gets better each time, but something continues to feel missing. (Last night it was the actress who is in the scene with me.) It is not poor by any means, (I rarely get instructions on it from the director, which means so far she must be pleased.) Yet I still want something to it that is lacking right now. It may be a pacing thing. Perhaps if I slowed certain parts of it more. Or maybe if I entered more slowly. I think part of it may also be how I am delivering the two tiny lines in the scene before the speech. (This suddenly feels like a very real possibility.) I must discuss it with the director.
I want the speech to be reflective. A man who came close to being a full man in life, but didn't quite make it. Someone a little too removed from society. Someone a bit too focused on being left alone to know what was going on. The final self-indictment, as well as an ironic praise of a universe that does provide consequences for actions after all. A satisfaction, or even a peace with that knowledge.
Monday we return for our first full run-through of the entire show. On a green set for a kids show, as mentioned. Distraction or not, this is the time to start kicking everything up to another level. As our director said several times lately, it is time to stop thinking and start feeling the play. I intend to do so.