All entries for Monday 12 May 2008

May 12, 2008

Arcadia at The Art of Directing

Last Tuesday, the Arcadia cast performed the opening scene of the play at The Art of Directing. Kate Richards, who plays Lady Croom, shares her thoughts about performing for the event half-way through the rehearsal period.

Art of Directing: audience in foyer (top), the panel (middle), audience during forum (bottom).Art of Directing: audience in foyer (top), the panel (middle), audience during forum (bottom). Photography by Peter Marsh / ashmorevisuals.

Performing in any capacity is a nerve-wracking thing, but at least when performing to your friends and peers you have the benefit of knowing your audience and therefore what might be expected. Performing to an unknown group of professionals then, proved more daunting than I had expected, particularly as the show is a work very much in progress. Despite this, it was nice, and very beneficial I think, to perform to a group with such a wealth of professional experience and detached from the productions themselves.

Performing in several of the pieces presented during the evening meant that personally I was very aware of making characterisation even stronger and clearer, and to distinguish totally from any other character I had played for that audience. It was nice to be able to put the scene in the space we will perform in, to see how it currently works within that space, and so that the blocking can be adjusted to make the most of it.

Reflecting on the performance, last night really impressed upon me the need for energy and pace within the scene, energy it is harder to summon on command than to build up through warm up and rehearsal, and the importance of really clarifying the relationships between, and status of, the characters involved. The forum afterwards produced, for me, some interesting comments and gave me a lot to think about regarding the play’s text and my interaction with it.

Kate Richards, 7 May 2008

Term 3 Week 2 – Is it a waltz yet?

Follow-up to Learning to waltz before we can run from Arcadia Rehearsal Blog

The cast have taken to the show incredibly well. They’ve learnt the majority of their lines already and so we’ve been spending some time working on adding texture to the scenes. As we rehearse I’ll ask the actors to stop and think out loud about what they’re saying in character. The exercise forces the actors to think about the motivation behind what they’re saying as well as working through the more complex ideas. It’s also helped me work out where some of the jokes I’ve missed are and how we might incorporate them. 

The blocking is still a little sketchy; I’m worried about people being trapped behind the table but this is something we can address next week once everyone is completely off book. I took Scene 1 to the Art of Directing last week precisely for this reason; everyone is on stage and because of the status of the characters and the layout of the space they ended up in a rough semi-circle which is less than ideal. I’m working on this with the actors this week and between us I’m sure we’ll work out something that looks natural without being too static or blocky.

We finished the week with a full run of the show and I was blown away. I deliberately didn’t say anything after the end of the first half and gave a break straight after the end of the run. By not immediately giving feedback the cast spent their lunch and tea break discussing how they felt the performance had gone and I’m convinced that they achieved far more that way than if I’d given them an hour’s worth of notes. We definitely had something we could show at the end of Week 2; it wouldn’t have been brilliant but people would have still enjoyed it. This has given us a very strong position to work from. It’s a little like a making a colouring book. We have the outlines of the images and now need to add colour and shading.

It’s not quite a waltz yet but it’s well on its way.

Rob Marks

May 2008

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  • I can relate to how you feel but I would much rather go on stage in front of loads of people than ta… by Sue on this entry
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