Thursday, September 08, 2016

Two Nights, Two Halves.

The last two evenings of rehearsal where some of the longest we've had so far. Tuesday was the first time we ran the entire first half of the show, last night being a rehearsal of the entire second half of the show.

Tuesday, for whatever reason, was rougher. More confusion, more "rust" from the pieces that hadn't been touched in a while. Personally I felt comfortable, but I do far less in the first half of the play than I do in the second half, despite playing three different characters. Still, the flow of the first half was virtually non-existent, and our director warned us ahead of time that it would be so.

One problem is that most of the exits, and maybe a fifth of the stage are still blocked by construction junk. Ironically, this is the second time I have been rehearsing a play in this venue during major construction. This time is a bit less stressful, nevertheless it is getting frustrating, not being able to rehearse in the space as it will be during performances. (Which begin in less than four weeks.) Things are what they are, and everyone means well, but for me, having space is one of the most important things for an actor to properly rehearse. We've been without that from the start. (Early rehearsals sometimes taking place in a space about one fourth as big as the actual stage will ultimately be.)

It is what it is, and I of course can't do anything about it, but I'm frankly weary of tripping over everything in the space. I'm more than ready to have all the space opened up, and am a little concerned at how little time is left. But I've been in far worse situations in theatre less than a month before opening, so I don't classify my feelings on the subject as worry. Annoying, maybe.

As is the fact that I have have addressed my very first lines, "This is the sergeant who like a good a heart soldier..." to thin air half the time, and to three or four stand ins the other half of the time. Only once, I believe, is the person who will actually play the part been present, and that was on the very day he was appointed to play the role. (Last week.) Absences in general are in fact one of my biggest annoyances in theatre. Maybe the shouldn't be, but certain people have hardly ever been at rehearsals, and the last two shows I was in suffered from extensive absences, so perhaps I'm just sensitive to it right now.

As for my performance, I put an eye patch on for the scene wherein I play a murderer for about five minutes. I wanted something to make him obviously different from Malcolm. And in the very next scene, I play a nameless banquet guest during the "Banquo's Ghost" scene. I'm going to use a cane to appear like someone totally different once again. I'd rather not be in the scene, honestly. I prefer some gear down time before intermission, so one or the other of the two scenes I mentioned would have been enough, but I hate having to hurry up and do tiny little bits of things leading into intermission.

Plus I've just been assigned sound effects duty for the scene right after intermission. Easy enough, but it's something else that takes time away from my main concentration in this production-being Malcolm. Two scenes later I have yet another sound effect job, newly assigned last night. What could have been a large amount of time to prepare for the challenging scene that is my biggest of the play, will not be broken up by tapping on sticks and bamboo. I know in community theatre everyone needs to work together and do multiple things, but there is "multiple things" and then there is "running around plugging all sorts of holes" kind of thing, and I'm feeling like this is the latter.  A few more people in the cast and this wouldn't have been needed, but...too late to be concerned about that now.

As for the second half of the play, (everything after the Banquo's Ghost scene), last night, as I said was smoother on the whole. I expected my big scene to be rough, and it had some spots, but actually went better than I thought it would go, given that we haven't rehearsed it at all in about three weeks. I would have loved more chances to rehearse it, but I'm glad to know it is as solid as it seems to be for the moment.

The final speech that gave me so much trouble earlier in the week, (except for at the end of the night the other night) went well, though I did trip on it a bit this time. During it, as per this production, the witches appear from the audience, unseen by those on stage, and surround the action as the play closes. That was new last night. Might take away from my speech a bit, honestly, but I won't know for sure how it feels until after we've done it a few times.

Now that even problem lines are starting to smooth out somewhat for me, I must dive further into the process of becoming Malcolm, giving him emotion and making me performance deeper. I've had no complaints about it from anyone, and I suppose it is near satisfactory as it stands. But I feel the need as an actor to flesh our his personality more, especially given some of the new directions and blocking the director has given us for some of Malcolm's scenes. (Some of which will change, slightly, the nature of my performance.)

Tonight, it's the first half again. Saturday morning is the fake wedding of the Macbeth's to be video taped for the prologue film to show the audience before the start of the play.

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