It has been wonderful watching this production come together.
I get excited enough rehearsing with the actors, watching the characters and their relationships take form, but when we get onto the stage and the set grows around us, the costumes and props appear, then the lights and music…I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though I know how the magic works, it still gets me every time!
My heartfelt thanks to the generous people of the Sewell Barn who have given their time and talents to this production.
So, last night’s rehearsal was a hoot. Our actors all have a ‘day jobs’ at the moment, life seems somewhat stressful for most of them. On top of that, one of my 3 cast members was unwell, so I ran relevant scenes with the two who were present.
We began with a vocal warm-up focusing on resonators. Many of the scenes feel very intimate, set at a table in a prison visiting room. I wanted them to experience greater volume without losing that sense of two people talking. Working on the resonators makes the voice richer in timbre, and has the added bonus of improving projection.
One of the exercises involved placing hands in front of the ears; it prevents the speaker hearing themselves properly, meaning they speak louder and more clearly, making more intense eye contact. This was quickly (& for the first time in the 17 years I’ve been teaching/directing- what was wrong with my previous students and actors?!) turned into a lizard/Jurassic park impression that left us crying with laughter. It never got old. It’s making me laugh now as I write.
The next exercise inspired a Chris Eubanks impression, which when added to the Jurassic park lizard nearly floored us.
Then, suddenly we were in the middle of a very moving scene, all jokes were dropped but new qualities suddenly appeared in the characters that left a wonderful silence in the room.
I live for those changes of energy. Those moments that tell you your actors were so involved in the moment that they took themselves by surprise.
It probably wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t had time to laugh earlier in the rehearsal.