18
Mar
08

Smoke + Sweat + Stress = Tech (cont’d.)

even though exhausted from tech, I have insomnia. 
of course.
so this is a bit of a ramble…
hold on and have fun, readers!

So what else, then?  The high point of tech so far for me personally was the recreation of the battle sequence on Sunday afternoon.  Very little of the battles was planned when we left the rehearsal hall, as we had to wait to be in the room with the gigantic Tree we would be fighting around and through before making any firm decisions.  But our first version got rejected, so it was back to the drawing board on Sunday.  In quick measure, we put together a workable sequence of safe and story-telling combat vignettes and poses that rescued the pivotal action sequence of the play from potential disaster to highlight. 

I got to lead the Roman attack onto stage, so this meant starting the whole shebang off and squaring off against Stacy what felt like a thousand times.  Remember, the full-length wool coat and large helmet.  Add the hoisting of a long spear over my head and slow-motionsustained, muscularly resistant  movement under tree branches and you had yourself one very sweaty little actor.  (Tangential: In this production, I am not only Carrying A Spear but Wearing Tights as well.  All my Shakespeare cliche dreams have come true.)

But after some fine-tuning by Iachimo/Fight Captain Mr. Todd Denning (who, Tangential, had his ankle cast removed today and is increasing in mobility just in time for Opening–just ask any of the many of us he giddily showed off his handsome new scar to today!) we inserted the new battle into a full run, and I for one found it thrilling.  I go from the battle to a quick-change, to the smoky/ghosty masque sequence of Posthumus’s family begging the god Jupiter for mercy, to another quick-change, to a final return to the stage as the Roman Soldier as prisoner about to be executed.  Standing there watching and listening to all the revelations of the play finally come down in Act V, Scene 5 left me exhausted yet uplifted, and I found myself having a very real emotional reaction. 

I’m standing there playing a soldier who’s devoted everything to what he believes in, but has apparently come down on the wrong side, the losing side.  In the presence of the British King, he learns of the past secrets, shames, and lost hopes of a powerful family that somehow is given a second chance at happiness, and in his enemies he sees a great capacity for beauty, love and familial tenderness.  He has no choice but to reflect on his own life, loves, and loss and can only hope for the final grace of redemption to be granted him. 

Or at least that’s what I’ve got going on in the scene as it finally dropped in for me on a personal level at the end of that long, stressful day of being a theatre-world soldier on Sunday.  Shakespeare didn’t give Roman Soldier anything to say (I ain’t mad at him), but I’ve got to fill up my time on stage with an inner life, kids.  And on Sunday, seeing some beautifully played moments between Carr, Smoots, Sokolovich, Michalski, Lawlor– okay, everybody!– it wasn’t hard to do.  It just happened.  Kind of an ideal acting situation where play, your own life backstory, and your own immediate events line up just right to really bring you to the truth of a fictive moment, that old paradox that can be like waiting for an eclipse. 

But if the actor you’re watching in the room right there with you is making you believe the story that’s been set up and carried out and you’ve been concentrating on for two hours, you’ll want to watch them and get caught up with what they’re living–you’ll want to go that feeling too, so you’ll begin to ask yourself what that’s like, what can we do to make this all better.  And if you have a direct tie to them, if you’re lucky enough to be a character in their story and not just an observer of it, you can get involved.  You will want to speak and move in a rooted, direct and effectual manner toward them, because you will need to, you will ache to. 

 Good acting leads to good acting.  Belief in your partner leads to belief in yourself.  Blah blah actor talk.  Anyway, come on down to the show and get yourself caught up in it, too.  It really is a good story, it’s such a big one, you’re gonna find at least one of these nutjobs you’re interested in.  I get to choose a different one every night!   

And on one final note of self-importance (this whole blog–the very notion of blogging, is an exercise in it! Discuss!), I would be remiss if I didn’t actually thank the company for giving me stuff to write about.  And Lesley Stone is amazing–the general, the goddess, the queen.  And big shouts to the volunteers who fed us AGAIN! Hooray!!! Everybody take a nap!

tgaw

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