Week 6: Tech, dress, and finger tingles

Where do I begin …

So much has happened since the time, earlier this week, when I wrote about leaving the safety and comfort of our rehearsal room. It’s involved the scary but necessary transitioning of an organism – the living, breathing, moving play – into a new space. In fact, it’s an evolution of sorts. And it’s involved not just the artefact of the rehearsed action of the play, but the evolution of all of of us involved in the making of this thing which is in the throes of becoming ‘a production.’ Continue reading “Week 6: Tech, dress, and finger tingles”

Backstage Rhythm

There’s another kind of orchestration happening in the backstage area. It has a rhythm of its own, conducted by the Stage Manager, and one never heard out front.

I sit waiting in the wings during tech rehearsals and listen to the sounds around me – music and sound effects, the gentle rumble of stage machinery, whoosh and click of scrim drops, motion of the actor’s feet, onstage voices, and the cue calls orchestrated by our Stage Manager, Peter Sutherland.

Pete’s resonant voice is calm, focused, and in tune with the show’s momentum. I swear he is timing his standby and go cue calls to the beat of Tony Brumpton‘s (and Giuseppe Verdi‘s) music and the play’s ambient sound effects. It is wonderfully reassuring.

Goodbye rehearsal room … hello theatre

Yesterday we said goodbye to Rehearsal Room 1 at Queensland Theatre Company. It’s been our cosy playroom since just after Christmas when we came together to begin work on QUARTET. It’s into the Playhouse at QPAC tomorrow and the start of tech week.

Image: Stephen Henry Photography via QTC
Image: Stephen Henry Photography via QTC

This means getting used to a new space; those green (Act 1) and yellow (Act 2) tape markups on the floor will become real levels and walls, doors and other objects to accommodate – although we’ve worked with real furniture and stand-in props. We’ll swap rehearsal gear for costumes and makeup and all the other ‘body-masking’ add-ons that assist in transforming actor to character. Continue reading “Goodbye rehearsal room … hello theatre”

Week 4 – the gears are clicking

Waking early today into the light in the sky. It’s high summer and my diurnal rhythms seem to be in sync with the bigger picture. Eyes open, into awareness, and the low-level adrenaline that’s come to be part of my life, kicks into play. I’m grateful for a day off for the light domestic duties, a spot of gardening, and a catch-up with the small screen entertainment. This helps to calm the mind and restore some balance after a week that has been one of the most intense so far in the rehearsal period. Continue reading “Week 4 – the gears are clicking”

Week 3: the play’s the thing!

Rehearsal room at QTC, BrisbaneThis post is a reflection on my own sense of the ‘job’ as actor this week. The clarity of purpose behind our weekly and daily schedules keeps us all focussed and humming forward together – kudos to our director Andrea Moor and Stage Manager Peter Sutherland.

For those of us inside Rehearsal Room One, the days seem fuelled by performance adrenaline; it’s probably why I’m so tired by 6pm and the close of play. We work from 10 most mornings, although costume fittings or publicity calls (both of which I’ve had this week) can occupy the 9am slot. We’re working quickly and are, as far as text is concerned, off book but still taking prompts, pruning out line substitutions, and fixing drops. We continue refining action too: timing the handling of props; entrances and exits, the scene and costume changes. The little things really do matter. As we do, there’s a growing sense of the ‘arc’ of the play, and of the rhythm of scenes as they flow in and out of one another. Out front Andrea’s focus is total; she provokes, questions, and continues to interrogate the work with us. Assistant Director Catarina Hebbard keeps us honest with text and on track with blocking. Continue reading “Week 3: the play’s the thing!”

And Week 2 is a wrap

Just like that, it was Friday afternoon – Day 10 of calls, and the end of Week 2 of rehearsal. The intensive nature of our work on the floor – blocking, which is all about playing with space, interaction, and finding actions to suit the words and words to suit the actions (thank you, Mr Shakespeare) is occupying our working hours each day.  Continue reading “And Week 2 is a wrap”