We explored the next two scenes today – Act II Scenes V and VI. We worked on finding the physicality and energy in these scenes that worked best, finding. We found, for instance, that the more frantic Juliet is to get information, and the more slow-paced the Nurse is in giving it, the funnier the scene is. Likewise, we explored the physicality of the scene in which Romeo and Juliet meet with the Friar, having a good laugh as the woman reading the Friar struggled to keep those reading Romeo and Juliet apart. The group realized that this play truly will work best on its feet if everyone has her lines memorized – where doing The Tempest as more of a staged reading was all right, this play is so much more physical that the scripts are really going to get in the way.
One of the women mentioned that what really gets her about this play is how many opportunities various people have to say, “Stop! This is a bad idea!” But nobody does. We talked a bit about that aspect of the play – the realization that things may go wrong and the abdication of responsibility. It’s a theme that resonates with many in the group, and we will continue to explore it further.
We set a goal to get through our initial reading/analysis of the play by Christmas and to cast it just after the holiday. This will give us a nice, long time to work on it and for people to begin line memorization long before the performance, which we hope will be in July.
Though attendance was light today, we determined that we cannot spend Thursdays always reviewing, at least not with the deadline we set ourselves last time. We decided to work the first part of Act III Scene I, the fight scene, and that we would get it to a point where the women present today could perform it for the rest of the group on Tuesday, eliminating the need to spend another entire meeting reading and analyzing it.
This proved to be a lot of fun, and very interesting, exciting work. This scene is my personal favorite in the play, and after today, I don’t think I’ll be the only one. Since the scene is pretty straightforward in terms of the language, we got it on its feet quickly and worked as a team to figure out blocking that suits the language. While this was slow work at first as we worked through the necessary action of the scene and where people need to be on stage to make things work, our pace increased as things became more clear and we all became increasingly excited.
Things really picked up as the women reading Tybalt and Mercutio instinctively began to circle each other at Tybalt’s line, “What wouldst thou have with me?” We trusted that instinct and expanded on it to determine that they needed to make a circle that needs to be close to 360 degrees if not exactly, since none of us would ever have a street fight with the enemy’s gang at our backs. When we began to struggle with the climax of the fight, when Mercutio is stabbed under Romeo’s arm, one of the women jumped up to help the performers according to her vision of how this would work. The rest of the scene came together very quickly.
The women who are new to the group were surprised that this very brief scene took us so long to block, but taking our time was definitely worth it. We had a lot of laughs along the way and left feeling inspired and excited to show the rest of the group what we’ve accomplished on Tuesday.