Rehearsal: Day 25
15th September, 2019
Finishing up this stage of rehearsals for Act 1
Bringing a close to the long rehearsals for Act 1, I met with the Salieris and Mozart early, to work on their Scenes –– particularly those where they are acting within the Courtiers group … the overview of the Scene, the positioning, the relationship focusing on the practical side of the rehearsal process.
The Cook and the Valet also came a little early and we had a run-through of their positioning for Act 1.
This practical work is very demanding energetically … engaging the head with the spatial awareness function of the brain, and combining it withe either reading the text or trying to recall it. I’ve been doing a lot of Sudoku recently on holidays and after and I think the same part of the brain is being engaged.
All the improvisational ‘in the moment’ that creates the excitement work is left aside.
And what of the collaboration and collective creativity theory?
In the context of applying my theory of collective creative, it is now difficult to evaluate the process. This practical work is very time and energy consuming –– the planning is a mammoth task alone (and the Schedule a little awry as a result!) .
But the loss of one of the central characters has shifted the ethereal qualities of our work, not for the worse, the new cast is creating further energy and focus. Just, the three weeks leading up to and seeking a new actor has been worrisome and stressful and affected the work. How it has changed it, I don’t know.
I see the theory come through in the warm-up, when the actors own that space that is their rehearsal space and set. I invite them to respond to the set, checking it out and playfully behaving with it, exploring the old ideas of status –– eg, are they lowly wishing the Court and getting a go, in secret, at the Emperor’schair … or, does the Emperor find himself in the kitchen, with the cook nearby? Is he breezing in or sneaking?
The Troupe arrive
We had the most amazing warm-up. DJ Greegio had arrived for the rehearsal and lead us all.
I had decided to use a general warm-up exploring the entire space in the hall. The ‘catwalk’ part of the stage was marked out and all the actors used this in their warm-up also.
They paraded and breezed around, utilising the furniture, and the windows.
Note to Self
While the general warm-up was great, ignoring the character warm-up doesn’t work, I believe. (I got feedback to this effect also from one of the actors.)
It’s hard to let go of the luxurious time we had, earlier in the process!
This was the biggest group rehearsal since we returned from the summer holidays … the most efficient use of time and people is paramount.
From now on, I suggested that the actors consider the concepts of flow, continuity and discipline constantly in the rehearsals. We require the play to move smoothly and elegantly from one point to another, one vignette to the next. With eighteen in the cast to move constantly in this fast-moving play, all of these concepts will be required for the best performance.
It is early in time yet to expect the ideas to be brought to fruition, but expecting them to be achieved ultimately is a good premise, in my view.
Then began at Scene 1. I explained that we needed to get through the Act as best we could, to the end. The Troupe needed to see how all their little segments related together; get a sense of the whole Act; see how the other groups were working; observe the progress.
We have few occasions now to sit and watch how others are working. With four weeks left, it’s important to take the moments to come together.
People have tea now, as they wait their turn and share notes on their scenes.
Where are we?
Still clunky, getting through, and finding our places generally. There was no time to perfect, some Scenes we were positioning for the first time. The polish will come later.
When reflecting later on our days work –– five intense hours –– the word that came to mind was ‘settled’. I felt settled at the progress of The Troupe at that run-through.
Later, I also felt a bit like Salieri … greedy … I wanted more once we had finished. I wanted the ‘moments of magic’, little energetic vignettes that delight.
It had happened in the warm-up where the Troupe were all ‘in the moment’, strutting through the space, their set, the rehearsal hall.
For another day on the stage!
Through the past week, we sought another actor. From the beginning of the search, we had decided that Bridge would move to the role of Mozart. She had been considered for this role at the very outset of casting. And at this point, not only was she ‘off book’ for the Constanze lines, she knew many of Mozart’s and any other character’s who was in any scene with her!
We didn’t have a Constanze rehearsing with us yet, hopefully the following day. That still brought stress …
Rehearsal: Day 26
16th September, 2019
The day after the marathon session, it was the usual Monday night rehearsal with the larger Venticelli groups, the Salieris and Mozart. AND our new Constanze arrived!
With those of the Venticelli groups who arrived early, I went straight into Scene 2 Act 2. The Venticelli groups enter with the leaders and hang around until Act 4; practical, dogged work, ensuring everyone understands the intention of the scene, the cues and positioning.
When the actor playing Constanze joined the rehearsal, we did some introductions and began a warm-up. Tonight, I went back to using the warm-up for some character work. We had about twenty minutes (we could do with double). I used magnets and the text to show how we were working, especially concentrating on Salieri the elder.
Each of the characters introduced themselves to the newcomer –– how they fit into the play and where their allegiances lay.
Then they showed Scene 2, 3 and 4 and afterwards I went off to the side room, where we read the Constanze / Mozart Scenes in Act 1 and the Salieri / Constanze / Mozart continuation.
Back to the hall for the Venticelli groups again, see what they had been rehearsing. And afterwards, on to Scene 7. More gossip, a different position, stretched out. It works!
On to Scene 8, and the most dramatic impact of their evening, for me. I wasn’t sure it would work to include the full groups in this short scene for the Venticelli 1 & 2. But the way in which they delivered their lines and the faces in their positions in the doorway were fantastic … and brought a quality to this moment that I had not anticipated, almost operatic, like a recitative.
Salieri the Elder is on stage the entire time. Because we have spent a lot of time with the larger groupings, it has been a while since we have focused properly on this actor’s performance at times when he doesn’t have text to say.
How will he respond, as he remembers / dreams of these scenes playing out beside him?
The time hasn’t been right until now to focus on this –– we have attended to the other actors, to understanding and learning the text. But now, it’s appropriate to dedicate time to this particular exploration, while the energy of all the other actors is around him.
Note to Self
Have regard for the relationship between Teresa and Salieri … the way she looks at him, wants to be included.
Endorse and progress her work, subtle but impactful.
Mozart and Salieri
When the Venticelli and their groups had left, Salieri, Mozart and I continued to work, on these scenes, which show Mozart’s egotism and supreme confidence and then his descent into vulnerability, poverty and madness, one influencing another, all under the control of Salieri.
Powerful words and images, this play resonates with our current world, the key to its longevity.