Friday, August 03, 2012

First Half "Stumble-Through"

Last night we ran the entire first half of the show. It was a stumble here and there of course, as is to be expected for a first run through of a half. But it wasn't as rough as the director expected it to be.

The dynamic between my character and Queen Margaret was better last night. I am still not where I want to be, but after talking to the actress and experimenting a bit with some of my delivery in the scene I feel I am getting closer. Last night I felt I was conveying more of a nervousness and uncertainty, mixed with fatigue, as opposed to a straight-up cowardice. No doubt it is still one of my scenes that requires the most work for me right now, but by no means hopeless.

After that scene are two scenes in which I don't do much. The "pipe-laying" nature of Act II. Those 10-15 minutes of short scenes are just setting up plot points by and large, and while I play a part in that foundation-laying, it is not the most interesting section of the play for me. In fact, though I hate none of the scenes, Act II may constitute my least favorite section of the play. There are some subtleties I am working on for Act II, they are probably a bit too much inside baseball to get into here. Personal preferences in my performance that I'd like to accomplish. Important, but possibly tedious to try to explain here.

There is one moment of potential artistic significance for me, and that is a moment at the end of Edward IV's only scene. As we have staged it, (though by no means would this scene always have to be staged this way), Richard and Buckingham are the only two remaining in the room after the rest of the court leaves to tend to the sick Edward. It is here that Richard speaks of the alleged duplicity of the queen's family. Buckingham has no reply, but we want this to look like the first moment that the two begin their conspiratorial relationship. For by the next time we see them, they have obviously plotted things. So I want that small moment to indicate that perhaps Buckingham's interest in Richard has been piqued. At least insofar as Richard may prove useful in getting Buckingham what he wants most. (To get the hell away from court for good, as per my interpretation.) So I do enjoy that moment in Act II, and hope to perfect it soon.

Then of course, we came to Act III. (Which is the last thing we do before our intermission.) Act III, where the pace begins to pick up considerably. Act III, where I do most of my work.

I tripped over a few lines here and there. (This is the first time I ran most of this without the script.) For the most part, however, I am pleased. I did get totally lost for a few moments in scene 7, which is by far my biggest scene. (Buckingham "begs" Richard to accept the crown.) But I recovered quickly. I know that I need to slow down those speeches a bit, despite them being animated crowd-pleasers for the citizens of London that have assembled. Part of my slipping a bit was due I think to my going a bit too fast without the book. (Again, the first time I did this huge scene without the script in my hand for reference.) I will say though that the energy is already quite apparent in the scene. (The director confirmed this.) Once I get my speeches smoothed out, and the crowd of townspeople hits a good rhythm for cheering, the scene should not only look good to the audience, but be quite fun to perform.

I think perhaps I should incorporate the paying audience into some of this. Firstly because, by necessity I will be giving those speeches from the house. Secondly, the audience will never see my face otherwise. (Unless they are in the first row, my back will be to them for most of the scene.)

I wasn't exhausted by the end of the scene last night, but I can predict that once it is at performance levels, I will be a bit winded and ready to take a seat by the time it ends. It is fortunate for me that this is my final scene before intermission, and I will be free to head to the green room and scope out the best couch while the final scene of the first half goes on.

All and all, despite one of the actresses being missing last night, I'd give the rehearsal solid marks. Tech stuff needs to be ironed out, and scene changes made smooth, but as for the acting, I'd say it is on course. Now I just need to commit to memory the order of the scenes. (We've only recently begun to perform them in order, you see, and I need my script to reveal which scene is which sometimes.) But that will come.

I also tried on some costumes. Two suits. Both the director and myself preferred a dark, charcoal gray suit to a lighter blue one, and so this is the suit that was selected. It needs alterations, but I at least know now what I will be wearing for the play. (I won't have a costume change. I guess Buckingham has many similar suits. Which actually sounds like him, when I think about it.)

Tonight we stumble through the second half, as well as have head-shots taken for the lobby display.

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