Thursday, July 3, 2008

R&J's Home Stretch

We have come to it ... the end of the final performance-free week! As with its festival counterpart, Romeo and Juliet has taken on such a life as we near opening night. Changes now are minor, scenes continue to be refined, and at this point repetition is the key to turning the time spent on stage as much of a science as it is an art.

The actors warm up in preparation for the evening.
The week opened with the continuation of full run-throughs on Sunday and Monday. The routine established last week continues, with fight call taking the lead in the rehearsal slot, followed by physical and vocal warm-ups and the placement of props. It is at this point that the production members (including the director) begin to be able to let go and allow the machine to run in front of them as they monitor it, so the final fine-tuning can happen before it's set to take off on its own!

Director Bill Kershner looks on ... and also serves as a billboard!

Being outdoors on the campus during the summer, we have not been alone. Sport camps, maintenance work, and a seminar on the Alexander Technique have shared some of the same space and time slots with our Romeo and Juliet rehearsals, and as a result we've had to make some adjustments. The first 30-60 minutes of some sessions this week have taken place in front of an adjacent building (and its fountain), which has taken some getting used to of its own. Since these sections of the rehearsal do not take place directly in front of a building as when we are in our normal space before Benedict Hall, the open air swallows a lot of the sound. Coupled with the soft rush of the fountain, it can be difficult to hear. And since the walkways and other landmarks are not where we normally expect them, compensations often must be made on the fly. Fortunately, we are definitely far enough into the rehearsal phase for this not to be very difficult, and the portion of the rehearsal spent in this space has been able to serve as the refresher it's intended to be.

Rehearsal commences in our alternate space by the fountain.

Since some of the rehearsal nights are still shared with The Bluest Water, two of this week's evenings were devoted only to half-runs: the second half on Tuesday and the first half on Thursday. Even though that was the case, and considering fittings for costumes have begun being necessary, there was still some overlap with unavailability for certain people at certain times. This can be momentarily awkward but it also forces us to keep on our toes, which is always good for staying prepared to address the unexpected. The rehearsals (and performances) will be completely isolated to separate slots from this point forward, so these overlaps will no longer occur.

The Capulet party dance procedes minus a few maskers who are trying on their costumes.

Much the way the sun sets on our playing space by the end of our rehearsal evenings, our time of preparation is coming to a close. We have only two rehearsals left, and both will be in full costume. While this will bring its own share of minor complexities (an oxymoron but a truism!) and adjustments, it also is the final piece of the puzzle for the actors to fully immerse themselves in their characters. Next week will bring much excitement, as we finally are able to bring these amazing people and events to life.

[Special thanks to Autumn Anderson for providing this post's photos :) ]

Jared M Anderson
Endstation Blogger

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