Tuesday / March 26 / 2019
Written by Matt
We made it to Week 40, y’all! Longtime readers of the blog will know what that means… very little to write about! During performances and dress rehearsals, facilitators become full members of the cast and crew--we’re just trying to hold it all together like everybody else.
As usual, we got thrown a curveball in the home stretch (which is a terribly mixed baseball metaphor, but let’s move on from that). Our Cordelia had to leave the ensemble at the last minute. Not only is this sort of last-minute chaos completely par for the course (because, suddenly, we’re playing golf), but the role that opens up also always seems to be the one best suited to be filled by Frannie, no matter how deep our bench is (sportball!). It’s happened all but two years with the women, and here at Parnall, Frannie’s had to step in at the last second to take on Desdemona (in Othello) and Miranda (in The Tempest). So it is only fitting that, of all roles to open up, the one that presented itself was Cordelia.
Partly as a practical measure and partly as a challenge to the guys who are still using scripts, Frannie arrived off-book for her role. And, to be honest, having facilitators onstage always gives our ensemble members a boost of energy. So it was today… maybe too much energy! In her re-appearance scene in Act IV, Cordelia interacts with soldiers, a gentleman, and a messenger. But her command to search for her father was apparently so convincing that everybody exited together, leaving Frannie alone onstage. She turned her dialogue into an impromptu soliloquy (I think it went something like, “Um… Alack, dear father… There’s a war! The scene’s over!”).
Despite the chaos--and especially for a first dress rehearsal--today’s run went remarkably well. The guys are good at rolling with the punches. We all need to get better with our lines, but we’ve got a really solid group this season.
Friday / March 29 / 2019
Written by Coffey
We had another great run of the show today, but this time with a special guest! Detroit Public Theatre’s own Sarah Clare Corporandy was our audience and, with new eyes on the stage, the men stepped up their game. We shaved 15 minutes off of the overall run time, scene changes got smoother, there was no noise coming from backstage, and the men were prompt and clear when calling for line. Technical improvements aside, the men were clearly settling into the world of the play and began making space in that world for their characters. It was beautiful to watch the actors, for the most part, lose concern for where they would exit next and give in to the power of the play. I was on book for them and my eyes were repeatedly drawn away from the script and onto the stage. The play has more life in it with every run, and that life carried the play past the occasional missed entrance and forgotten line. In the words of one of our actors, “When we were bad, we were good. When we were good, we were great!”