Week 10: Production Week Begins
This is a post taken from my personal blog Groundling. I kept an acting casebook during a production of Cabaret for the Empire Theatre in 2008.
Gird the loins for production week. Here we go. Day 1 for the acting company in the rehearsal studio, and it’s another run. This is what I want and need right now. I’ve written before here about losing momentum in an extended rehearsal period, and we’ve arrived at the time to get the arc of the story right and to polish.
I was lecturing yesterday on the ancient power of the mask in ritual and performance. It’s not so different now of course. Instead of covering the face, a modern actor relies on makeup and costume, all the trappings of body adornment as her mask. In today’s theatre, it’s usually the final phase of character prep. Looking in the mirror and seeing the persona of the character ‘arrive’ is a magical moment. I always take time to do this before I leave the dressing room and walk into the wings to prep for an entrance. So, what happens this morning as we’re readying for run 3 of the play? The warmup’s done and the director asks me to get my wig from the wardrobe and to use it during the run. This was, I think partly to let the company see Schneider through me, and for me to get closer to the character; the idea paid off.
It was a good run, and I think a big step up for me personally. The lines and the rhythm of the play are beginning to enter my performance consciousness along with refining the characterisation, relationships and action playing; so comes confidence to create further. After the run, an hour or so of notes and then working ‘bits.’ This is about tidying moments that are not working and at this stage, is usually about timing or intensity. Yes I have plenty to work on, and this is the sifting, tidying, refining phase that can drive one distracted or be another break-through. With 12 days till opening night, we’re humming along well. And beyond the rehearsal studio where we were working today, we could hear the occasional bang and drilling of the technical team rigging the lights on stage and bumping in the show.