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May 12, 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.
May 11, 2008
Learning to waltz before we can run
For me, last Saturday was the first point that the play came together. Up until this point the cast had been separated into two sections; 1809 and 1993. Suffice to say, a notable level of friendly rivalry arose, as both groups were adamant that their section of the play was better, and more professional than the other. However, it was on this particular Saturday that the entire cast was granted the opportunity to watch and contribute to a run-through of the entire performance. The 1809 cast sat in awe of the 1993 cast’s incredibly complex and expertly textured dialogue, whilst the 1993 cast immersed themselves in the 1809 cast’s light-hearted portrayal of the original inhabitants of Sidley park, and the trials and tribulations they experience.
As well as this mammoth run-through, Thomasin, Fiona, Rob and I were all invited to an hour-long waltzing lesson with Russell Jones. We were quickly separated into pairs, and began to persevere through trodden toes and unintentional manhandling. This was not only the first time that I’d had to learn a dance for a production, but also the first time that I’d ever had to learn a dance that wasn’t “the robot”. Yet, my fellow cast members surprised me with their tenacity and eagerness to learn; all four of us agreeing that the waltz was something that we could take away from the play, and no doubt use in the future.
All in all, it was an incredibly productive day. The walk home from rehearsals had become a waltz home, and the stakes had been raised even higher between 1809 and 1993.
Matt Stokoe plays Septimus Hodge
Take a look at the photos from this rehearsal »