Production Week: Run #4 and Sitzprobe

Creative Commons License photo credit: fr1zz

It’s 11 days till opening and 10am on Sunday morning. Other people are out there having the requisite leisurely brunch and reading the papers at any one of the many coffee shops in the city. We’re in the rehearsal studio warming up bodies to Kylie Minogue dance music. It’s then over to the keyboard to warm up voices with the music director. It’s time for Run #4. The stage is still off-limits as the crew continues to bump in the set.

12.30pm: Notes Session. As it turns out, it was a very good run. We received notes yesterday to intensify the ‘book scenes’ that drive the narrative; I suspect we might have been a little leisurely and under-energised with the action playing. The cast picked up those notes, and raised the stakes for the characters. What resulted was a more energised, focussed, and dynamic run … at least that’s how it felt to me. Undoubtedly each run brings greater confidence to us as individual performers and as an ensemble. Anyhow, director’s notes were largely positive, as were the choreographer’s and musical director’s, so we’re on the home stretch now. Acting notes on the run will follow in written form, but will have to wait till tomorrow evening. Ah, how nice to be able to rehearse over more than a couple of days at a time! I’m closer and closer to being DLP with the text (dead-letter-perfect) something I aim for when learning a role; it’s a courtesy to the writer after all. Most sweat over every word, so it’s the least an actor can do to get them correct and in the right order.

2pm: Sitzprobe. This afternoon was the first gathering of the orchestra, stage-band and cast in a sitz probe. This weird German term which sounds like something dreadful that could happen to one’s nether regions is actually a spine-tingling experience … but for a nice reason. As the dictionary has it:

sitzprobe
n. a first, rough rehearsal of an opera or musical stageplay with singers and musicians, but without acting, scenery, or costumes.

Principals and chorus took it in turn to stand at the 6 upright microphones, and we sang the show’s musical numbers one by one with the orchestra. Wow! I had the adrenaline rush that comes when music works its mainline magic. It was good to hear my voice via the speakers as well; as a result, I was able to finesse phrasing and volume. Tomorrow evening we continue the sitzprobe with Act 2.

Author: Kate Wilson

Actor, director, teacher, dabbler with paint, serial traveller.