October 5, 2010

Big Pieces of Show

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 11:33 pm

Today was an unexpectedly exciting day.

First of all we began at the crack of 10AM, staging the tomb scene. Which is like, a total downer — not to mention a 13-person traffic nightmare. It’s not really something you want to jump right into, but we were working around fittings so we had to. But as they have all along, our cast picked up their blocking and executed it expertly right away, and in less than two hours we had it all done and run a couple times.

We finished up another rather complicated group scene that we ran out of time on yesterday, and staged a quick easy one, and then spent the second half of our day reviewing everything we had.

We have all but three scenes of our first act staged (and the ones remaining are short and pretty simple). We ran the act, skipping over what was missing. Aside from the jumps, we didn’t stop much, so it felt more like a run than a work-through. We didn’t stage the show in any semblance of order, so this was the first time for everyone to feel the flow of the show. I think it was encouraging for everyone to see just how much we’ve accomplished, and how solid our foundation is with the show already. We’ve been in rehearsal for 8 days, but we didn’t start staging until the end of day 4, so it’s really amazing how much we’ve done.

Our second act is where most of the work remains. We have the first scene, one scene in the middle (Act 3 Sc. 5, which is a pretty serious one), and the final scene in the tomb. However, those three scenes are the most complicated, so even running those felt like a great accomplishment.

This morning before our crack of 10AM rehearsal, Meaghan and I began fully setting up the prop tables at the crack of 9AM. One awesome thing about our rehearsal situation is that we have all the prop road boxes in our room, which includes the folding tables that travel with the show and already have the tape marks laid out to divide up and label the prop tables. Meaghan is new to the show, and I have only a passing acquaintance with how things went backstage, so it was a good opportunity for us to bumble around figuring out exactly where everything goes. We set up the tables on the appropriate sides of the stage and populated them. It’s great that we have this opportunity to get the actors accustomed to which tables to go to for each prop before they ever enter the theatre — and basically all the work was done for us.

The room feels much more alive to me with the prop tables out. I think it’s because it very much resembles a stage. The set is just tape on the floor, but the prop tables are all in the right spot, and I can pretty easily imagine a set and a theatre surrounding us, and it feels like an old friend.

It’s very comforting to return to a production I remember fondly. One of the best things from a professional perspective, is that I’m finding I don’t have my head buried in the book all the time. When I want to make sure the actors are speaking and moving correctly, for most scenes I can do it by looking up at the stage, instead of down at the book, and that allows me to be more aware of everything that’s happening. I also don’t have to look up the answers to a lot of questions, or look at the script when someone calls “line” (which has caused me to step on Meaghan a couple times, because my mouth says the line before my brain says, “you’re not on book”!)

Tomorrow we stage a good deal of the remaining scenes, and it looks to me like we’ll finish staging as hoped on Thursday. That will give us two days to review so we have something nice to show Penny (our director) when she arrives on Monday.