In The Theatre

Tuesday was our last day in the rehearsal hall.  We ran the play once more, this time for ourselves.  I had feelings of excitement that we were taking the next step, apprehension that maybe we weren’t ready, sadness to leave the space that now felt so safe, and disbelief that three weeks have gone by so quickly.

Whenever a play moves from the rehearsal hall into the theatre there are always several days of dress and technical rehearsals; often a week is needed.  For the next few days we give the play over to the designers, stage managers, and technicians so that they can perfect their visions and get the sequence of the show running smoothly.  The actors now faciliate the technical staff.  There will now be many days of working in our costumes so that the Costume Designer can make any adjustments and to make sure that the dressers can complete the quick changes necessary to help us get back on stage in time to play our various characters*.  We’ll stand on stage while the lights are focused on us and lighting changes are coornidated to the action on stage.  The Sound Designer will add, subtract, shorten, lenghten, and even compose sound cues on the spot.  The Set Designer puts the finishing touches on the set and all of the props arrive and stand ready for use.  It’s a massive undertaking and coordinating the whole circus is Lesley Stone, our fantastic Production Stage Manager and her lovely and competent assistants Natasha and Lillian.

Many things have changed since the first Stumble Through and our last run in the rehearsal hall.  An entire scene has been cut and one trusty character from 1 Henry was replaced in his only scene by another character, thus eliminating him from the play altogether.  Please understand, this should in no way imply that we’re smarter than Shakespeare.  But our play today has different needs than it did when it was written so sometimes we have to adjust accordingly.  We’ve run the play a couple of times now and each time we peel back another layer, make new discoveries, and tighten up the piece as a whole.  Now that we’re starting tech we’ll have to leave the play for a few days.  During tech it’s really hard to make any headway with the actual performance of the play due to the tremendous amount of stopping and starting, focusing and adjusting, entering and reentering that we’ll do again and again until the sequences are timed out perfectly.  It’s difficult to ramp up any momentum in a scene acting wise, but we’ll learn other things that will feed our performance when we can get back to running the show all the way through.

Our director Susan says she used to love tech rehearsals when she was an actor because she got to sit around running lines, getting some rest while waiting, and goofing off with her castmates.  It’s going to be a very busy few days ahead, but it’s all part and parcel to making a play.  Especially the goofing off.

 *SideBard:  The dressers are often a life line during the run of a play.  They take care of our costumes, do our laundry, make repairs, and schlep our clothes from point A to points B,C,and maybe even D.  They’ll be particularly integral to this show as so many of us are playing multiple characters.  I spent many years as a dresser in the theatre so I know how hard they work.  Thanks.


1 Response to “In The Theatre”

  1. 1 janethephoole
    September 7, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Stacy, I saw the preview last night. Pistol is explosive and your other characters are dead-on delights as well — and we’d expect nothing less, but you are ON FIRE and should be told so. My voice is still destroyed from Bristol’s closing weekend, so I’m not sure if you could hear my barking laughter, but I was rolling through the whole thing, and when you were on, it was all I could do to remember, “This is indoors, sweetheart; you can’t just jump onstage and be next to Stacy and Marcy.”

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