Friday, May 06, 2016

A Week In the Life

I didn't think that a post after each of the last few rehearsals would be an efficient use of time for either myself, or for you, loyal blog readers. The last three, were in many ways the same, in good ways and in bad, so I'm posting an all encompassing update on the show, sort of.

To begin with, because our show, and the current show at the venue are running almost concurrently, the tiny space is quite crowded for our rehearsals. We are for the first hour or so confined to the small lobby to eek out rehearsal, and practice some blocking. (Which at this point I believe is set.) During this time, the current show that has the stage, a kids show with a cast of 40 (that's forty) is preparing to leave. To be more accurate, parents are entering at about this time waiting to pick up said kids from the show's technical rehearsals. So we have a cast, and a half, plus a group of parents waiting in the lobby of a small building while our rehearsal is going on.

Needless to say this is not ideal. I'm unsure how the scheduling came about like this, but there is no point if getting too annoyed with it; the kids show is the current show, and as far as I am concerned, the space is there while they are present. I'd expect no less if my own show were the current show. The overall fairness to them doesn't, however, make our rehearsals any physically easier.

One night, once everyone from the current show was gone, we did make use of the stage, though it of course has their set on it. We had permission to move what we had to move, but our director opted most recently to continue our rehearsals in the lobby anyway, finding it easier for her to concentrate there than on a stage with someone's elses set on it. I of course would rather be on the stage than in the lobby, but that is far from my call. So, as far as Tuesday was concerned, (the most recent rehearsal) the lobby it was.

Than a five day hiatus for me, and a four day hiatus for most of the show. This is the second week we've been off for at least four days in a row. I won't lie; I'm a bit concerned about that. Those who followed my last show know that I had my concerns because of the large number of days without a rehearsal, and it looks like it's happening again. My previous show did make it to opening night, and I imagine this show will get it done somehow as well. Almost all shows do. But it certainly;y makes the rehearsal process more challenging and a bit less enjoyable for me.

I have sensed that at least a few others are unhappy about it, within the cast, but I am not a mind reader.

All this by way of saying that I have had to do a lot of creative work at home, on my own. (I've said this in earlier posts as well about this show.) That is for the most part coming along well. I've only gotten two corrective notes per se from the director, so I imagine most of my choices are working for right now. She says she likes what I'm doing in more than one scene.

Sometimes community theatre is like this. The chaos and the minimal rehearsal. It by no means has to be like this, as there are community theatres with more space or more open calendars. Those that have been established for longer periods of time and can count on certain support that newer ones perhaps cannot. It's not at all fun to rehearse under such conditions. Yet it is the essence of acting, in some ways, to own what one is doing, and to internalize it to such a point that most outside circumstances don't detract from a performance. Circumstances such as these that I have described require that sort of focus on individual effort to be sharper and come earlier than it otherwise might, but it is always part of the acting craft. It all starts with one's own character, the sort of show within the show of every play.

Don't get me wrong, it is worlds easier on certain levels to be on a quiet stage practicing for as long as possible. Muscle memory and such. Even one's acting work, and creative process runs much more smoothly under a conducive environment. But one thing remains true for the actor at a time likes this; we have basically 0% control over a building, or a scheduling snafu or noise. We have a great deal of control over how we play our character, and the professionalism we display. Yes, even those things are easier under the right circumstances, but we are never 100% powerless over how we as individual actors proceed. We can and will get annoyed at times, but we must always move forward, and seek to tell the story we are tasked to tell, through the characters we are assigned as best we can.

This cast has just under a month to be ready to do so. No reason to suspect it cannot be done.

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