Though only this week has been the official tech week for Jekyll and Hyde (tonight being the final day of same), last week, for various reasons also felt like a tech week. That's one reason I didn't post an update on progress until now.
Nothing would be more boring that to share with you all of the little (and big) issues that have spring up that have slowed our progress in this production. Issues that are for the most part particular to the venue, the time of year and other such things. I will generalize the delay by saying that unexpected absences, unexpected equipment issues, some unwanted interference and an over crowded shared venue have all contributed to a trying final two weeks of the rehearsal process, for just about all involved. Everyone's process is slowed as we repair set pieces and try to get the lighting board to cooperate even now.
That certainly includes me. I am in fact off book for this show, and I have been. But I find I still trip or slide in places. Part of that may be due to how many lines I have in the show. (I believe in this case I have the plurality of them.) Part of the issue is the nature of the lines. Not only are the period for the Victorian era in some ways, in other ways they are not, which can trip my tongue even more. The script is also, in truth, in need of an editing if ever there is a revised edition to same.
On the whole, there is a lot of stress involved in preparing for this production. Stress that has, I think, slowed my own journey toward total confidence in what I am doing.
I must also mention that because I am on stage so much, I do not get a breather as often as the rest of the cast, or as often as I usually do in a show. That also has no doubt contributed to the pressure.
My confidence is in the end, my own journey. I don't think anyone can just tell another person to become confident. They can encourage, and that helps, but the final destination must be reached by the person in question on their own. I am there for parts of the play, but not for every single scene, as I normally am, and strongly prefer to be, by the end of the rehearsal process.
This hopefully doesn't mean I am somehow "losing my touch." The fact is, I don't believe that I am at this time. I've listed all of the complications associated with the show, and in defense of myself, I believe that plenty of people would experience a few speed bumps under the circumstances. Our tech crew, though not responsible for any line delivery is a prime example; this is a show requiring a lot of technical activity, and we have only one true runner, and the stage manager herself. It is a tremendous amount for two people to get done in the time they have to do it. So the strain on optimum performance is by no means restricted to the actors.
I also feel that I have, for whatever reason, been more tense, and rushed on stage while running this show than I normally would be. Whether this can also be attributed to all of the unavoidable extras, I'm not sure. But early last week it dawned on me just how fast I was delivering some of the speeches. Certain emotions of course call for greater speeds, but what I was doing was beyond this. I got to thinking I was going fast for the sake of getting the lines out, as opposed to going fast for the sake of portraying an emotion. I was never given a note that i was too fast, so I don't think I was going fast to the point of being unintelligible. Nevertheless, I tripped on common words more often than I found acceptable, and I made a determination to slow down a bit.
I have in fact slowed my delivery a bit each night since then. Further I have made sure I have physically more relaxed, relieving tension on my actual muscles that I don't always have on stage. This, especially last night, seemed to allow the words to flow more freely. I don't of course want to rid myself of energy on stage, but it has served as a strong reminder to relax. I still made some small errors, but I didn't let that end the world.
It didn't hurt that last night was the first time we ran the show with no "extras" out in the audience. That is to say, only the director and stage manager were there, and the light/sound people were up in the booth. Nobody going in and out.
Tonight then, is the final rehearsal. Because of the nature of my costume, I have actually been wearing mine the entire week, though this is the only official dress rehearsal. I am going to do my very best to treat it as an actual performance. I am off book, I have relaxed a bit, and last night I proved that I am at least in the proper ballpark to do what I need to do. Tonight I want to be sure of it to an even greater degree, though I am aware of the old superstition about the final dress vs. opening night.