The first phase was Table Work. Phase two was getting it on its feet and blocking the play.
In most productions the actual theatre isn’t available for rehearsal. They have something else playing there. So you’re forced to rehearse in a temporary location. This can be a rehearsal hall, empty ballroom, another theatre space, or someone’s living room. You tape off the dimensions of the real stage and do the best you can to simulate the real thing.
In our case, we’re rehearsing in theatres that aren’t being used at the moment.
The set itself will look very cool once it’s constructed and in, but for now, a couple of long tables are representing the pressbox counters.
Notice the next time you watch a sitcom that characters are always going to the refrigerator for water or folding laundry or hanging up their coats.
So the task for our director, Andy was to find reasons for my cast to get up and move around from time to time. But here’s the key: Any move must be justified. There has to be a reason to get up, and to cross the set, and to sit down. People don’t just arbitrarily float around. Actors legitimately say, “Why am I’m going to the refrigerator?” A good answer is not: “Because I need you on that side of the room for a line you have to deliver in half a page.” That may indeed be why you want him there, but a much better answer is: “You want a bottle of water.”
So Andy has been finding ways to create some movement and variety. And the actors are helping by making suggestions. It’s collaboration at its best.
And it’s amazing how much more the play comes alive when the actors are actually performing it, relating to each other. And the sight gags work better I've discovered.
You would think that learning blocking on top of memorizing a script would make things harder for the actors, but in fact the opposite is true. They find it much easier to memorize the words when they have physical cues.
The blocking took a couple of days, and once the actors are in the real set on the stage things may change a little. But for now the play is blocked and the actors are just rehearsing, refining, and making it their own.
Next up: Tech.
Again, for tickets, here’s where you go. You’re going to want to be there, if for no other reason than to see a few of the actors’ crossing the set!