Marginalia: Writings and Reflections

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”

Routine

Rehearsal days are flying by – we’re nearing the end of Week 2 – and the work on the floor this week, blocking scenes and interrogating action through character, is intense and tiring. This is where the richness of a text becomes apparent, but it takes its toll. The tiredness only becomes apparent at day’s end when, for me at least, it isn’t possible to do much more than eat a light dinner, do a bit of reading – without a pencil in hand – and consider the luxury of an early night. I don’t have access to a television at the moment so this is probably a good thing, else I’d drift off in front of it, I suspect. Continue reading “Routine”

Tosca’s Kiss

Week 2 begins with no calls in the rehearsal room for me today. Work on the role doesn’t stop, of course; there’s homework to do – always homework when becoming absorbed in preparing a performance.

This afternoon I watched an extraordinarily moving documentary on Casa di Riposa – a home in Milan – endowed by the great Italian composer Guiseppe Verdi for old musicians and opera singers. This documentary was the inspiration for Ronald Harwood’s QUARTET.

I was touched to the point of tears.

This is a brief snippet.

 

 

Week 1 Done … no dust

The last time I turned up to work on a Saturday morning was back in high school when I did a weekly pocket-money stint at Coles in my hometown. This week has been broken a bit by public holidays, and so we finished the first of what constituted the rehearsal week on Saturday; it felt like a Friday all day, of course, and with lots of delicious cakes and even a Christmas stollen on the tea table. Note to self: don’t get too carried away at break time with the tea table. Continue reading “Week 1 Done … no dust”

Unexpected Learning

In the course of their careers, actors get to experience a wonderfully eclectic range of characters and human behaviors.  We investigate the way people think and act, and have the often-daunting task of giving life to a character who seems light years away from our own understanding and experience of life. Continue reading “Unexpected Learning”