Rehearsal: Day 17
Monday 28th August, 2019
The fundraiser we had for shoes for the Amadeus production last Thursday night in Newman’s Corner House –– a Scoraíocht & Company ‘pass the hat’ with a theme of ‘Mozart’s Shoes’ –– yielded €300, so the cast will be beautifully shod!
There was a moment of magic that night (one of many, might I add) when a concert pianist stepped up to play the Mozart Sonata in F major. I learned it as a teenage student … didn’t quite sound like this pianist’s version though!
It was beautiful and unexpected. And it reminded us of the genius of Mozart.
Here is our mystery guest pianist, Conor Linehan … I like what he’s doing here as a composer.
While the play ‘Amadeus’ isn’t focused on the music (rather the core relationship between the two men, Mozart and Salieri, and the community / society around them is our particular interest in the presentation) his music permeates the entire play and being reminded of it, live and in person, was just brilliant.
Back to the hall, driving on
Julia had asked for everyone to come tonight in plain t-shirt and the Troupe were invited to come early to try on the costumes for size. There’s something very exciting about seeing an array of costumes and colour spread out, Mozart music in the background.
There’s a change in my approach in the last few days. A new focus is there and the deadline for the performances in a matter of weeks looms large. There’s much to be done and it’s that awkward time in any production –– where you want to be in the middle of the momentum but you have yet to begin. (If performing on stage, it’s the time when you feel physically sick, wonder why you ever decided that this would be a good idea, and you just want to get out … or started.)
When we began to rehearse, we started with a quick rundown of the plan for the evening, plus noting a change in focus –– the actors may need to take control of their own work, taking moments to check lines, positions on stage. After a short look at the text of various scenes, we had a quick ‘hello’ to each other and we began the warm-up.
I was aware of a general tiredness in the room so I asked the actors to lie on the floor, concentrating on their breathing, relaxing, listening to the music and bringing themselves here, to this place.
Then, quietly and in their own time, they awakened to movement, stretching and massaging, as they needed until they were ready to move into the room.
Firstly as themselves, and then to slowly work into their characters.
My aim is for the actors to explore this warm-up themselves, take responsibility for it. Little by little, I will relinquish the instructions.
Returning to first principles
I reminded the group of the various concepts we had worked on in the spring and early summer and, when they moved into the walks, I asked the actors to remember these, eg. radiation, being in readiness.
Then in the midst of the walks I asked them to move into one group creating images using two of our themes –– ‘frivolous’ and ‘manipulation’; then creating images using the familiar concepts ‘power’ and ‘status’; then using the walking as a momentum to give energy to the text the actors had looked at earlier (in this part, the actors pop into the text when the music stops, creating a difference in the feel of the language, in their bodies, in the variety of tones and emotions); then flocking and slow-motion moves as a group.
Venticelli 1 & 2
My particular focus tonight were the Venticelli groups. We had previously worked on Scene 4 where the Venticelli 1 & 2 meet Salieri on the street and pass him information. We went back to this and worked on recreating the energy I knew we had before.
There were a few actors missing, but despite this, we recaptured somewhat the drive and spirit of the scene. The characters are shining through and when the actors are comfortable their physicality is fantastic.
We also looked at Scene 6, again the groups accompany Venticello 1 & Venticello 2 … we were reminding ourselves of the placing of the scene and the interactions between everybody.
This work was also reminding me of the idea we have previously used –– the elastic band (in relation to the physical distance and a slightly ‘bouncing’ relationship between the actors).
What also comes to mind is that, it seems to me that our work on radiation will be very helpful for actors monitoring their own presence / performance within the play when coinciding with others (walking in when there is a scene ongoing, for example).
Orsini Rosenberg, Salieri
Two stand-ins read for van Swieten and von Strack with Orsini Rosenberg and Salieri in Scene 4, just to familiarise ourselves with the text.
The setting is the Palace of Shönbrunn and we have now placed this scene on the set. The furniture will be minimal –– who will use it?
Status and power between these characters will determine this. It’s not possible to explore this angle tonight but it will be fascinating when all the actors are there.
The lines are coming along!
Note To Self
In playing around with this scene way back, the elastic band idea worked well. Remember to continue to use this here too!
When working separately with Constanze and Salieri, we have looked at Scene 10 and Scene 11. We went back to these now, for a reminder of the text and the emotion of the scene.
Sometimes it is hard to transfer an atmosphere from one place to another. Moving from a rehearsal to the performance space can often involve going from a smaller intimate room to a larger auditorium. And consequently, the energy feels dissipated, reduced and the ‘playing’ of the roles and the text can seem very different –– almost disorientating.
I’m not sure how these actors felt about the transfer –– I must check in with them –– because, despite the move to the hall and the new experience of having an audience for this scene that the Troupe was, the connection between them is there, the emotion intense and it is compelling watching.
It was also fascinating that one of the actors broke the link towards the end of their piece. Creating a flow of energy within a text is hard and the breaking of it, very understandably from the actor’s point of view, was really frustrating for me … no heavy judgement intended here, just a recognition of my response.
It’s a learning for us as performers to hold onto moments and creative connections. At the end of the day, we are in rehearsals after all (and not the Abbey, as someone reminds me!). But the holding on is a practice and makes the ultimate creation of a complete acting performance on the night of the play more attainable, in my view.
Email from Julia Zagar to the Amadeus Troupe: 26th August, 2019
Email to the Amadeus Troupe: 28th August, 2019
Regarding the process, I mentioned on Monday that you might take the opportunity to do a separate rehearsal in the side room, if I am working with particular actors. It’s great if you would take that initiative, if you feel your scene requires extra work. Please also take notes on your stage movements so you can remember them.
28th August (Wed) Venticelli 1 & 2 –– Scene 3, 8, 9,
1st Sep (Sun) Salieris, Von strack, Orsini Rosenberg, van Swieten, Emperor Scenes (Image) 3, 4, 7 Mozart, Constanze
2nd Sep (Mon) Salieris + Troupe + Venticelli 1 & 2 –– Scene 6, 8, 1,
4th Sep (Wed) Salieris, –– Scene 5, 7, 8, 11, 12
8th Sep (Sun) Salieris, von Strack, van Swieten, Orsini Rosenberg, Mozart, Constanze –– Scene 7, 8, 9, 10
9th Sep (Mon) Troupe V1&V2: Scene 1, Scene 6, (Recap: Scene 8)
11th Sep (Wed) Salieris, Constanza, Scene 10, Scene 2, 11, 12
16th Sep (Sun) EVERYONE ACT 1
FIT IN COOK / VALET WITH SALIERIS