Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Stand by me

Stand By Me from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

Playing For Change
Song Around The World
My mum sent me that today and it made me smile, so i thought I'd share it.
So, week 4 of rehearsals, today we ran through Act 1.
The way that The Crucible is set out, there are no scenes, just acts. This means that breaking down rehearsals is difficult, because a lot of the time there are 10 or more people on stage. As I've said before, directing large groups makes me slightly uneasy, if only because I'm worried that people without a lot to say will get bored and resent the fact that they have to come to a 4 hour rehearsal just to say 5 lines. I don't want people to be bored or resentful, i want people to be engaged and happy.
So today, in Act One, I had 10 people. We started off with me explaining how the play was going to work in the space, and explaining the set and costume concepts I have come up with. We played some warm up games (and i mean that literally, the room was FREEZING! I had them all running around like mad things so that we wouldn't all get frostbite) and then got stuck straight in.
I feel slightly like this rehearsal process is running backwards. We are starting by blocking the scenes in the space, then going back in to develop character and motivation behind the blocking. It's not the way i like to work, but the restrictions on room bookings in the actual performance space means we have to do it this way. After next week we won't be in the space until the week of performance and i want to make sure the staging works in real life the way it does in my head. I felt kind of bad for the actors, being shoved straight in to blocking a scene they had only ever read in read through, and doing it in front of the rest of the cast. I know that i would have felt uncomfortable acting in that situation, and one thing i really try to do as a director is never put my actors in a situation i would not feel comfortable acting myself. But needs must, as they say. All of the actors did extremely well, and didn't seem fazed.

We went through the act slowly, with me moving people about, trying to make the scene look natural and uncluttered, which is tough when there are supposed to be 10 random townspeople in the bedroom of an unconscious 10 year old girl. The acting was rather stilted, and it was slow going, but that is to be expected on a first walk through. After just over 2 hours we finished blocking and took a break for dinner. Coming back after half an hour we ran the act once without interruptions (for the most part) so that i could see how it flowed, and how long it was. Although far from perfect, and running alarmingly long (50 minutes for one act. At this rate the play will be over 4 hours long!), it looks strong enough, and i let the cast go early.

Tomorrow we do Act 3, which is the real bitch. Everyone is on stage for almost the entire thing, and i need to make it look credible, uncluttered and engaging. My leading Lady has bronchitis, so I'm focusing on the acts that she has less to do in, but it's far from ideal. I think I'll get a good night's sleep. I'll need it.

Ooh, in unrelated news, I'm going to a Halloween party as a tattooed lady this weekend, and I've been playing with tattoo designs. This is my favourite Egon Schiele drawing, which i got bored and drew on my arm this morning.
I love it. My friend is tempting me to get it done for real. What do you think?

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