Radium Girls has a lot of work left to do, and not as much time to do it as any of us would like. That being said, the last three rehearsals were our best in many ways.
Our lead actress missed this entire week, and has only been present for about four official rehearsals. This has been problematic, to say the least. But over the last three days, by having someone read her lines off stage, (as well as those of other actors who are still absent any given day) we began to find a rhythm. That rhythm will of course change once everyone is attending all of the rehearsals, but not drastically so. Besides, I find that it's easier to move forward on some kind of rhythm, even a temporary one, than it is to have no regular pattern to what's being rehearsed. It's also often easier to make adjustments to a new rhythm when called upon.
Repetition and lack of interruption. When a rehearsal process has those two things going for it, the play gains momentum, even when holes remain to be filled, as they do with this one.
Sense of character and place are forming now. So is a rough estimate of how long I have between my scenes. (Though we have skipped certain scenes all week.) But now I at least have a ballpark notion as to how much time I will eventually have between one appearance and the next. I hope to start working on a few more nuances, and small aspects of the performance. I just like to add smaller, but impactful things to my characters when I can.
The manager of the venue pulled some props from the house collection for us to use. Most of the cast hasn't used anything yet, but I've already adopted a small notebook for my scenes as the reporter. I've scribbled in it a lot during my scenes, to give it that well-used feel. Still feels a bit too new, but I'm sure it won't after tech week. When i have a hand prop, I like to keep it in my hands as often as I can, to give it that "extension of my character" feel.
Tried on some costumes this week as well. The director settled on a suit for me. The first I tried on, in fact, since it fit well enough. I have some rapid character changes in this show, so I won't be able to make full costume changes. Pants, shirt, and probably tie will stay. I'll flip through jackets and in one case a hat to distinguish characters. My usual stage shoes. (Which I may have to replace after many years of fine service in the near future. But not before this show.)
I still trip over a few lines here and there, but I am in fact off book. Part of it may be how often I have to play a scene to an empty chair, I don't know. But I continue to review everything, as usual. The director did mention me as one of the people who are most off book, so I suppose I am doing something right in that department.
My understanding is that the next time we all meet for rehearsal at the BBAC, our set will be mostly built. (The current show ending this weekend.) That will be one of our biggest adjustments, as there are many platforms involved, and we've been on a flat, unmarked stage for most of this process. I usually adjust to such things with minimal problems, however.
Despite the bumpy ride this rehearsal process has been, I feel in a good place with my characters. As I said, I hope to add a bit more dpeth to them, now that we're entering into the "true" performance rehearsals. (As opposed to the building rehearsals.) There's still some shoring up I could do with that. I may or may not make the connection on every level that I hope for, but I already feel I will be closer to the target than I was in my previous show. (A Night of One-Ders back in February.) Why? It's part of the mystery that is acting sometimes, I guess. Some shows you connect how you want to, others not quite.
For this one, I'm just "getting there" faster. (Especially for my role as Berry, the lawyer, despite it not being my largest role.)
I now look forward to seeing not only my own characters, but those of the rest of the cast evolve and become more polished as everyone's schedules at last start to improve in our final two weeks.