Tonight we ran the first 2/3 or so of our play. The group really buckled down, getting through as much of the material as we could. Although there were hiccups along the way, we helped each other through and got a lot done. Because I was running around so much, I wasn’t able to take detailed notes, but it was a really great rehearsal. While some people are feeling a bit overwhelmed, they are being extremely well supported by the rest of the ensemble.
As we worked through the last scenes of the play today, our Othello became extremely frustrated by how much trouble she was having remembering lines that she thought she had cold. No one in the group was impatient or angry with her; rather, everyone encouraged her to do whatever she had to do to get through the play – paraphrasing, ending a scene, leaning on the rest of us.
“We know this play so well, we can muddle through it no matter what happens,” I reminded the ensemble. And it’s true – even when people wound up paraphrasing, they got out the necessary information to move the story forward.
We finished our run and decided to use the rest of the time for our Othello to work on the scenes with which she was most frustrated. The level of support she is receiving is beautiful – the ensemble is really rallying around her and lifting her up, even as she’s being so hard on herself.
Tonight we attempted to run the entire play, and we got within about 5 minutes of doing so! This is very encouraging for all of us, as it means that with the weekend to become more sure of lines and cues, we should be able to get all the way through it in performance.
Again, I was humbled to be a part of an incredibly supportive ensemble, as we pushed our way through all challenges that arose and worked together to remind people of cues and props needed. Our Othello, still being extremely hard on herself, did not give up and made it through.
Kyle and I encouraged her to take the rest of the night off from working lines. “There’s only so much you can do when your brain is spaghetti,” Kyle said, and he was right. She is putting a lot of pressure on herself to be perfect; she feels that the others will be angry or disappointed and let down if she’s not. We reminded her that no performance is ever perfect, that everyone knows how hard she’s been working (and only for a few weeks on memorization), and that there is nothing she can do that will cause that support to go away.
Another ensemble member overheard this conversation and shouted, “You’re doing a great job!” as she left. Another approached me quietly to assure me that she’ll work with our Othello over the weekend, keep her calm, and encourage her.
I am really hoping that the weekend will bring some relief, even as she continues to work on her lines. She is really doing incredible work, and I hope that she will absorb the support she is getting rather than continuing to beat herself up over every mistake.