First Run: spot the holes and string the beads!

Water Court Installation

Water Court installation Queensland Art Gallery

Despite the dreads a week or so back, the first run was actually a bit of a thrill. During the blocking and working phase of rehearsals so far, most of our scenes have been worked in isolation from the others. So today, it was terrific to see them all and especially the dance chorus numbers beside our own. It was like stringing a whole lot of beads; the little pieces all make sense when they’re of a piece.

First runs are for spotting the ‘holes’ from both sides of the rehearsal room table: scenes that are working or not working as planned, moments that need rethinking, songs and routines that require further work. For the creative team of directors this translates into re-blocking, fixing and rescheduling of planned rehearsal sessions. For the actors, singers, and dancers (and that’s all of the acting company) it’s getting a chance to see how much of the arc of the story has bedded down through our action, lines … and gosh, darn it … just remembering to get everything in the right order. Working off premises in a local school kept us on our toes … the familiarity of the stage or the rehearsal studio was replaced by a new, not altogether congenial space with a shocking acoustic. Still, one does what one must!

Did I have the book down? No, not for all of it … I clung onto it for some scenes, but in others not bad I reckon. I know where I have to mend the holes. I’m working with a fine scene partner who’s a ‘giver’ and that means a great deal to any actor. The support that comes from a steady, calm gaze (not looking at the book, remember?) makes the job a lot easier. You get all you need from your scene partners during performance. Watch, listen, and respond.

That first rum had to be done. It’s over, the dread’s put to bed, and with a work through tomorrow night of all of the Schultz-Schneider scenes, songs and dance routines, I should be feeling a lot more comfortable as we head down the track into Week 6. Now it’s into refining, tweaking and polishing as well as creating the character’s ‘journey’ across the whole play, and not just within the confines of individual scenes. That string of beads again …

Tomorrow we are exactly one month out from opening night … and it’s St Patrick’s Day!


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