August 21, 2012

After our warm up today, we decided to begin by working our Nurse/Juliet scene, since it hasn’t had very much rehearsal and one of the participants in the scene had to leave early. The first performance was all right, but not great. The participant playing Juliet said it felt “dead” to her, and one of the women in the audience remarked that it didn’t seem like they were “giving their all.” We talked about actors having to take responsibility for themselves on stage, even when they are not getting what they think they need from the other performers. I encouraged both actresses to go at the scene with tons of energy and to take care of themselves no matter what. During their next performance, I did a lot of side coaching so that they would be able to recognize when they were doing that, and the scene improved greatly. Everyone agreed that if they do it this way in performance, it will be great. We then ran the entire show in order. The group decided that they want me to introduce the performance and explain to the audience that many of them have never been on stage before, and that there will be some mistakes, but we ask them to bear with us. Since this will make them more comfortable, I will definitely do it.

The run of the show went pretty well. The goal was to go without stopping for any reason, but we found some places where we did need to stop and fix certain issues. One participant has decided that she will take her script on stage with her after all for her monologue – she is afraid she won’t be able to hear the prompting from our narrator. Another issue was that many people were talking backstage, which precluded them being able to hear their cues to begin from the narrator, so we discussed the need for quiet and for the narrator to have a microphone, just in case. There were a few other general issues that they solved as a group with very little input from me: for instance, waiting for the curtain to be done moving before beginning a scene and changing some of the blocking slightly for sight lines. We also discussed the need to stay in character until the curtain is fully closed.

On Friday we will have our usual session in the morning and the performance in the evening. I am really looking forward to this, and I know that they are, too.