Thursday, August 09, 2012

Fatigue and Revelation

It occurred to me as I was at rehearsal last night that I had not remembered to blog about the previous night's rehearsal. So today I will attempt to cover everything that happened over the course of two nights of rehearsal.

On Tuesday night, we had another full run-through of the play. (Excepting a few small moments that required an absent actor.) I won't go through each of my scenes this time, but I will say the play as a whole went better than on Monday night. We didn't go without stopping yet, but that is no surprise. The tech crew is still new. Nor has the entire crew been present for a rehearsal yet, so those kinks are still being worked out, as the cliche' goes. There aren't many complicated scene changes in this play, but those that are there require several pieces of furniture to be moved on and off the stage. (The performance space as well as the backstage area being smaller than most, it can be a bit of a challenge.)

I cannot complain about my performance that night by and large, though I once again had to call for a line in my biggest scene. (Act III, Scene 7.) I also had a difficult time speaking over the crowd at times without straining my voice. There will be more on that later in this entry.

The biggest problem with Tuesday night was how fatigued I was. I have for the last week felt a bit off physically, and while I think and hope I am on the mend now, rehearsals have been more draining than usual. Not that rehearsals should ever fail to drain an actor, because that would mean he wasn't trying, but compared to my usual levels of fatigue the last few practices have taken a bit more out of me than average. I can't say for sure if it affected my performance, though I don't think it did. (And the director mentioned nothing about it.) Still, I like to be a bit sharper at the theatre than I was on Tuesday night.

Energy in general was a bit low on Tuesday, though, based on what I heard about various scenes. There may be all kinds of reasons for that, but we are at least aware of the situation.

I still need to slow down on the delivery of some of my lines, because I get slightly tongue tied here and there. Not in all the speeches, but a few lines are written in such a way that for whatever reason they are a tad "slippery" if you will.

Also on Tuesday, during my execution speech I tried something for the first time with a prop that I was asked to do by the director on the night before. The timing and mechanics were left up to me and the one other person in the scene. I talked about it with that actress beforehand, and we worked something out. We did it during the running of the scene, and given that we were not told to change it, it can be assumed it was fine.

Something that still didn't feel fine on Tuesday night was the "betrayal" scene, wherein Buckingham refuses to be complicit in the killing of the Princes, and Richard dismisses him. I have mentioned this scene in almost every entry on this blog lately because of how important it is, and because of how much I feel it is currently lacking on my end. I deliver the lines in competent fashion, if I may judge so myself, but there is still not the shift inwardly that I'm looking for. I still do my best to express it outwardly, and hopefully it is working. Still I want that depth to be present that is currently not there. By no means do I feel the scene is terrible, I just want more for myself. I'd also like to give Richard more. The second half of this scene was discussed last night, which brings me to last night's rehearsal.

To begin with it was not a conventional rehearsal. The director had warned us that it would be an evening of specific and at times intense exercises for some of us, both physically and emotionally. It turns out I personally was not required for much of that intense set of exercises, however. I did serve as a physical presence for someone else's exercise, and almost took a header down some steps in the aisle. (Thankfully a mass of cast mates broke my fall.)

Then one exercise was not so much of an exercise as a focused rehearsal on one specific scene I am in. Act III Scene 4 requires several of us at a table to meet about the coronation of the young prince. The director wanted us to sound more urgent than we have been so far. To that end she had us run the scene a few times, without allowing any space between the lines of each character. One speech after the other. We aren't to perform the scene in this way obviously, but it got across the message that the scene needs to have an urgency to it.

The rest of the time I spent going over things by myself in my head, or, fore a few minutes, conversing with actors about the nature of the character in a given scene. It wasn't until he end of the evening that I got the most out of rehearsal.

The director finished up about an hour earlier than she expected, and dismissed everyone, other than those who wanted to work specifically on a given part of the play. I don't usually stand in the way of people going home, but last night I did want to run, with everyone, the biggest scene for Buckingham. The director said that it looked fine in previous runs, as did Richard. I mentioned, however, that I have been feeling hallow in the scene. Almost mechanical. After some chatting about who should and should not stay, the entire crowd was kind enough to stay a little longer to let me run the scene.

It felt somewhat better. Part of it may be due to my decision to move around a bit more during the scene, particularly while Richard was talking, and the crowd was clapping. Richard commented on this afterwards, so my movement must have been noticeable. I am glad to hear it, because it means that the scene felt different both to others and to myself. I have some ways to go before it feels how I want it to feel, but the chance to run the scene on its own without the pressure of the entire play surrounding it did me some good. It may be my last chance to do that with the scene, so I am quite happy I took it last night, and again am grateful to the others for staying behind a bit.

Once most of the others left, Richard asked me to stay behind to work on the "dismissal" half of the scene I talked about before...the one where Buckingham doesn't agree to killing of the Princes in the Tower. At first he just wanted to run the scene once or twice, but before we did so it became a discussion both on the nature of the scene and on the nature of the relationship between Buckingham and Richard. Such a discussion cannot be disseminated in its entirety here, but I can say that some of the conclusions we eventually came to has made that part of the scene easier for me. While my motivations for the scene remained constant, we did experiment with Richard's. Ultimately we decided on the most powerful interpretation for him to take. And while technically Buckingham doesn't know exactly what Richard is thinking at that point, Ty is pleased to have had the conversation, and to have learned what the other actor is up to in the scene.

And so, that is where things stand now. All and all, I feel I am in better shape now than I was before last night's rehearsal, for more than one reason. I wouldn't declare myself in opening night shape just yet, but any rehearsal that ends with an actor feeling better about his role than he did before hand is a successful rehearsal  indeed.

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