Monday, May 26, 2008

Day 2 - High Noon on the Mercutio Clock

Tonight's R&J rehearsal kicked off our "table work" week. I arrived at SBC right at 7, the official call-time, and walked into the formal beginning of rehearsal (re: "So...hello everybody!") I smiled politely and semi-apologetically and took a seat at the far end of the table, directly across from Bill Kershner, the director. Immediately, I noticed a high-powered energy, a certain je ne sais quoi, about the room, and though I feel a lot of that has to do with the spirited cast, I won't rule out the possibility that a lot of it stemmed from the colorful drawing I ended up facing.

Seriously, though, I already have a good feeling about the R&J cast. Having only known a few people prior to yesterday's read-through, I'm excited to work with the people I don't know, and just as excited about getting to know them. Chalkboard frescoes aside, the mood in the room did seem very light and fun, and there's already a lot of comfortable dialoguing amongst people. Tonight's group was small: seated at the table were Romeo, Juliet, the Nurse, Mercutio, Benvolio, and Tybalt. The point of this rehearsal was to read through the scenes again, and then go back and break each scene down line by line. And when I say line by line, I mean it quite literally. Every line was considered individually, even if it was only to laugh about the transparency of it.

I have always loved breaking down Shakespeare and, acting solely as an observer at the rehearsal, I got to silently bask in the intricacy and history that goes into the lines. Bill would often present his own view on the main action of a scene or on the certain meaning of a word or phrase and then turn it over to the actors to discuss. In between Bill's boisterous laughing, Shelbie's hilarious comments, and the on-going joke about Mercutio's, ahem, sexual nature, the scenes got broken down into the most basic emotions and actions and then pieced back together into a larger, much more complicated picture, and neither director nor cast was ever afraid to offer more than one complicated picture.

I personally cannot wait to see how this show pieces itself together. I came away from yesterday's read-through in quiet awe of our outdoor set, and came away from tonight's rehearsal reminded of how brilliant Shakespeare shows himself to be. While discussing a line, Bill told us about the history behind a certain fair-ground monkey trick. "You would teach a monkey how to play dead and then, oooooh, resurrect it for a crowd," he said, "and the rubes would give you a penny." Although I hate to use a falsely-deceased monkey comparison, I think it's a pretty good analogy for what we hope to accomplish. A R&J audience comes in "playing dead"--they all know how the story ends, for there never was a story of more woe--and we can only hope to resurrect the love, the passion, the tragedy of Juliet and her Romeo (and to earn a few pennies from the rubes along the way). I think we are well on our way to being deemed resurrectors.

Kirin McCrory
Endstation Blogger


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