Tonight was spent working through scenes involving Tranio, as the woman playing this role is newer to the group, and we wanted to give her some stage time to really get into the role. She was able to clarify her character’s objectives and the strategies he uses to accomplish them. She is having a lot of fun with the role.
The group is working well together to flesh out scenes, now that our cuts are complete, and their understanding of the text is clearly very deep. The ebb and flow of ideas between them is respectful and confident, and their solutions to challenges are often quite creative.
Our main set piece, which we are grateful to have been provided with by the facility’s Building Trades program, arrived in the theatre today. It is a revolving platform with a fountain on one side and a fireplace on another. It is really beautiful, and it was invigorating and exciting to begin to work with it today.
We’ve set April 20 as our off book date. We know we won’t be perfectly memorized by then, but this should give us ample time to work without scripts in hand so we’re confident by the time we share our play with an audience.
Today began on a bittersweet note, as a longtime member of the group let us know that she will not be continuing, and we said goodbye to her, at least for now. This left another role vacant, so the ensemble decided to shift the woman who had been playing Grumio to this newly-available role of Bianca; they then cast Lauren as Biondello and me as Grumio. There is a general sense of relief at finally being completely cast.
We decided to spend the day catching up our new Bianca. She fell into the role immediately, making decisions that were different than the ones the previous actress had made, but that are textually based and ring true nonetheless. The ensemble was very encouraging and supportive of her as she found her way through and into the scenes, and she clearly feels good in the role.
Again today, the ensemble worked beautifully together to adjust staging as needed and give each other constructive criticism. The scenes we worked are beginning to have their own life and momentum, which is thrilling.
One of the women and I noted that we were more invested in the scenes when the women’s energy was higher. We began to discuss whether we should fully commit to our “cartoonish” staging – staying truthful in terms of our objectives, tactics, and interpretations, but letting our presentation be more stylized. “Can we go that big?” asked one woman. Another quickly replied, “It’s either go big or go home. We can’t go home, so let’s go big!”
We discussed ways in which this could work. We decided to each come back with the “poses” in which we would draw or sculpt our characters. This is sometimes referred to as a psychological gesture, and I think it will come in handy as we work on fully committing to our “go big because we can’t go home” approach.