Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bodies and Blades

Rehearsals are all all-calls from here on in. We're finished with scene work--if I had any intention of doing any more fine-tuning, the boat has sailed. It's up to the actors now, to keep exploring and experimenting as we race towards opening night.

Last night we started by blocking the curtain call. Then I gave a brief outline of the next week and a half, explaining that, once tech begins in earnest (this Friday), the actors will find themselves consigned to lower positions in the theatrical hierarchy ("meat props" was Max's expression) while the designers sort out their technical issues. It's often during this time that tensions run highest, not only because of the proximity of opening night, but because actors (fragile and beautiful things that they are) get nervous when attention isn't focused upon them. I'm hoping that my cast will keep their heads, and make the week a productive one by working through their various challenges and issues on their own time.

Once that was said, we plunged into 4.5. It was slow going. Keiran wasn't available, so we couldn't work the final beat of the scene (between Kent and the Fool). That means, I guess, that it will be a surprise even for me. Brittany was unwell, and Allan tripped on a sword at one point (both he and the sword are still intact, thank goodness).

But even if these had not been the case, it would have been a frustrating night. Ideally, the last scene of this incredible play should be twice as incredible as anything that comes before it; it should be the last, breathtaking blast of heartwrenching beauty and tragedy. What it was last night was a lot of blades strewn across a stage, and a lot of actors struggling to carry other actors here and there. In other words, a very awkward, mechanical scene. Nobody had the energy to act much, and I certainly didn't have the energy to inspire them.

Very frustrating, to be heading into run-throughs with no clear sense of how the play will conclude. I can feel the moments slipping through my fingers. I must have faith that, if I cannot catch them, the actors may be able to recover them without me. Although I joke about their diminishing importance, at this point, it's really more their play than mine.


Blogger anonnymouse said...

A terrifying and thrilling place to be. I'm thrilled for you, secretly envious, and breathlessly exptectant of the discoveries still ahead of you. Do everything you can to keep your energy up and know that I'm rooting for you.

3:05 p.m.  

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