We stopped in to watch rehearsal last Thursday the 27th on our way to see the Geva production of CLYBOURNE PARK. Yes, I procrastinate, a luxury the cast and crew here do not have, but our deliverables as members of the cohort are somewhat squishy.
There is obviously a great deal of hard work in staging the play, in figuring out who does what and how and where and when on the stage. We watched some of the same scenes we had seen a few days earlier and noticed a different dynamic. First of all there had been many changes as to who was where and how they moved. Secondly the actors really seemed tired, not tired of it (they were still giving it 100%) but just tired from the long day. There was a little less reading directly from the script and there was also a little less intensity to delivering the lines with emotion and feeling as if that part had already been worked on enough. Staging now seems to be at the phase of working out the difficult details of how the action will transition from scene to scene and how the actors will shift from character to character.
There are many character transitions (i.e., actor Larissa FastHorse must play a mother at a kids’ party and a 30 year old Havasupai woman and a 4 year old girl and …). These character changes are accomplished through voice and body language changes as well as costume changes. When Larissa takes the bow out of her hair and changes her jacket and picks up a purse she is now the mom at the party and not the little girl anymore. That’s how it will work on stage but how they, the actors, will make it work is the difficult challenge they are engaging in now. By the way, I am guessing at the props Larissa will use because while we are watching her rehearse this she is just pretending to change her jacket and pretending to pick up the purse – there are very few props in the rehearsal yet!!!
In addition to how each character transitions, the team of actors needs to work out how the props will be retrieved from their hiding places (in traps in the stage) and who will put them away again in a manner that doesn’t interfere with the flow of the play. I could not have imagined how complex this process is after our first reading of the script and seeing the model of the stage.
Before staging rehearsals started we were conversing with Director Sean Daniels and I joked “so you really have no idea how the staging will be done?” Graciously not taking that as insulting he said “I actually have it all mapped out but the minute rehearsal starts it all goes out the window”. It takes accomplished and talented professionals to pull this off and it is great to have an opportunity to watch them at work. Thanks Sean.