The rehearsals have reached the stage where almost every day they do a “run thru”, an uninterrupted rehearsal of the entire play from beginning to end. Well, it is uninterrupted except when someone causes a noisy disturbance while entering the rehearsal room (I was trying to be super quiet but kind of tripped and kicked the door — really sorry).
They do a run thru while Director Sean Daniels and Playwright Deb Laufer take notes. When they are finished and the Stage Manager Frank Cavallo has reported the elapsed time (1 hr, 47 min) the actors get out their scripts and they mark them up with the latest changes. How do they keep all of it straight? Incredibly, Deb is still adding, dropping, and changing lines and there is only one week until previews begin.
Referring to Sean’s notes they reworked some of the scenes. One was where the chorus is telling their stories, something I wrote about after the first table work session we watched. It was apparent to me when reading the script and watching the table read that the chorus members are sort of competing to make their story heard, to have their story be the one listened to. Having the actors just stand there and tell their stories, however, would not convey this. To accomplish that they need to, well, ACT. Refining this scene involved running it through many times with different timings and movements and emphasis. They tried various ways of upstaging each other (jumping in front of each other, pushing the other out of the way, tapping the person speaking on the shoulder to indicate their time was up, etc). After a few tries it all came together and we could feel that there is a competition to have each of their stories heard.
Several things have changed since our last visit. They are not reading from scripts anymore. It is apparent that they are now very aware of where the features of the set are. When competing to address the audience during this chorus scene they have their toes right up to the taped line on the floor that represents the edge of the stage and you can almost feel them leaning over it a bit to address the audience. They are also much more aware that they are playing to an audience – there is no audience of course but you can see that they are picturing it. They are even stopping occasionally to discuss what the audience reaction will be and how that will affect the scene (and whether the imagined reaction is what is intended).
Tomorrow we will try to watch an entire run thru, hopefully arriving before it starts so as not to cause another embarrassing disruption!