Second Dress Rehearsal: Day 38

9th October, 2019 

Unexpected happenings

There was a crisis in the area. A young fisherman, Cody Healy, from Toormore, Schull, took to the water in Dunmanus Bay in the early hours of Wednesday morning and by that evening, his family had called the Coastguard as he hadn’t retuned home. The community rallied around and there were searches and support networks organised immediately. There were two or three members of the Troupe with a connection with this young man’s family, but the tragedy hung over all of our preparations and decisions for the next days, until he was found and laid to rest.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Our final preparations

The lists are being completed. Additions are made daily … the final flurry of activity.

Second Dress Rehearsal

10th October, 2019

The projections have arrived on a card and are working with the computer and projector.

The excitement is palpable. Everyone arrives early.

We have some guests coming too, some people that I deliberately invited in order to create an audience and then some others who couldn’t make the play during its run.

Discussions before the performance

In the normal course of productions, all items would be completely dealt with by the Dress Rehearsal. There should be no confusion, everybody should be fully rehearsed and ready. The performance should start when planned, like a first night, with everyone in position and ready. No stops or starts, a complete run with any corrections to be made noted and dealt with later.

In our case (as with most amateur drama productions), we still have a few bits to sort out beforehand. It’s a delicate balance, not crowding everyone’s mind with information … Is it too soon before a performance to be directing? Time to  leave the actors alone?

Tonight there were still a few musical / actor cues to coalesce. And some final touches on the images of Goya and Annie Leibowitz that we were reproducing.

Seeking the perfect reproduction Dress.jpg
Seeking the perfect reproduction of the Goya image. (Photo Jack Zagar)

Other than that, everyone was ready and poised. A smooth-running, twenty-nine-person machine. Even the front of house team were dressed in their specially-made outfits and performing.

Todd Dress 1.jpg
Julian looking resplendent. (Photo: Todd Bellici)

A proper warm up

I was glad that this became an issue for other participants as well as me. I believe it’s crucial to find a way in to the atmosphere of the play and the particular character. In trying not to impose my views I let the warm-up drift sometimes.

In time we returned to the belief that it assisted most of the performers. From tonight on, we made sure that we started the warm-up early enough to spend time at it: strutting and parading on the set; hearing the music set the tone; absorbing the atmosphere created by the set decoration and the lighting; relating to the other characters towards the end of the session;  being playful with the text and practicing the dialogue.

Amadeus before an audience

The performance went well but slow. A lack of fluency with the lines kept the flow down. The shapes are holding up well … by this I mean the overall movement of the actors –– the physical flow –– and the various vignettes.

And the audience responded well. Though it was very late when we finished. Again, any notes I had were communicated in the email to the Troupe or directly the following day.

It is the flow of the play and the momentum of it, that will become the biggest conversation over the run. How to make it move more quickly. It was funny how it happened that on the night of the Dress Rehearsal, it was Act 1 that felt less rehearsed and needing attention. Later on, Act 1 became smooth and moved well and Act 2 slowed down!

I ended up being the prompter every night, though being used less and less each night (and one night not at all!).

Keeping the audience happy –– practical steps

Another issue that arose tonight was the comfort of the audience. We had opened the centre door of the hall as an entrance point to create extra acting space for the Troupe and to surprise also.

This resulted in a draught through from the open outside door. There was a curtain hung half way down the corridor leading from the outside door into the hall itself to ease the draught and one half of the outside door remained shut during the performance. This curtain also served to hide the actors from the audience as they waited for their cues to enter.

Heating the hall before performances and at half-time was crucial. But, in fact, we also ended up putting on the heaters during the performances int the lower half of the hall. This interfered with the lighting as they emit that strong red light that has given such an intensity to some of the photographs. But, audience comfort was a priority!

We also decided to bring cushions to the hall  in case some audience members had to use the hard wooden benches. In the end, all and sundry used the cushions. It was a nice addition to the decoration of the hall, in fact.

The photos

We were incredibly fortunate to have the time and expertise of two photographers, Jack Zagar and Todd Bellici, on the night of the Dress Rehearsal. As a result, we had amazing shots to use as publicity and as a record of our work.

Salieri  pleads - Todd Bellici:Dress.jpg
The Younger Salieri and Mozart (Photo: Todd Bellici)
Clair Dress Rehearsal.jpg
The Elder Salieri (Photo: Jack Zagar)
V1&V2 with Constanza - Todd Bellici:Dress.jpg
Constanza with Venticelli 1 & 2 (Photo: Todd Bellici)
DECAY Dress .jpg
The Troupe: Decay  (Photo: Jack Zagar)

Email to Amadeus Troupe on 11th October, 2019

Hey Amadeus Troupe,

well, it is here. And we are ready. The play has form and structure, visuals that are being lauded already and an energy and excitement that is palpable. The play is long, and the pace is pretty good. However, we might tighten up on uncertainties and cues and that will help the action.
Last night was great. Well done to everybody!!
Pausing a moment
With the tragic loss of Cody Healy in Dunmanus, there is a slightly surreal air in presenting this spectacle and excitement. Julia, Alyn and I have been monitoring the developments and wondering how best to respond. Our suggestion is that we hold a minute silence at the very beginning of the evening. I would introduce it and invite all of the cast on to the stage to participate. Lights would be low, we will have revealed you all but will have acknowledged the devastating circumstances for the Healy family and our community.
We will keep abreast of developments during the day, in case we need to reconsider, if Cody is found, for example.
Act 1
1 Please come at 6pm for little rehearsal bits. We must warm-up as the characters. It took a little while for everyone to settle last night. Of course, that is also because it was the first time in front of an audience. Warm-up at 6.30pm sharp.
2 There are moments when the energy / alertness dips in characters. Please be aware. I’ll mention to you individually also. Please remember that you are your character at all times, before you come on stage, during and as you leave.
3. VOCALS need to be stronger…radiating to the back of the room please. Especially those with lots of lines: Constanza, Valet, Cook, Salieri younger
4 First Venticelli + groups Scene needs a rehearsal and then it will be BRILLIANT!
5 Scene 5 – I’m trying to have cream al mascarpones for you Victor. I think you need 3 in all. And Constanza needs something. The small sweets are for the ‘Nipples of Venus’ Something else when Constanza searches and then the creme al mascarpone,with glass and small spoon. Note Jack/Winnie. 
6 Scene 5 Mozart, you need to fart louder! I didn’t hear any last night. I wonder if you were to grab Constanza’s hand and do it into it???
7 Scene 5 Constanza — when you are mocking someone, you can play this up much more.
Audiences so far are having no difficulty with the gender fluidity bit!
8 Scene 7 Mozart––when you ‘listen’ to the music of Salieri changing it, it’s a bit of a leap for the audience. So, let’s be absolutely clear and make the most of this piece. I’ll do this with you. I like the headphones for this Scene but we’ll get rid of them in the theatre. They can come back when you’re at home later on, trying to work.
9 Scene 8 Salieri meeting Constanza I’d like this scene to be a bit more flow and fluid. Will talk later.
10 Scene 8 Venticelli 1& 2, great but move please.  Careful of your cues, ‘catch the wave’ as it were. Scene 10 was very late. Don’t wait for music please.
11 Scene 10 Mozart and Constanza –– a bit angrier?/ Physical??
12 Scene 11 – Salieri / Constanza?? Did you do ‘clever as cutlets’ bit??
Elder Salieri, I’d like a little more reaction to the harassment scene.
13 Scene 12 –- Elder Salieri ‘Capisco. Now I know my fate.’ I think this is developing very nicely from previous moments but it could be bigger Clair. It’s a moment of extreme clarity. And mentions in the script of ‘mediocre’ are very important. You might capture them more, I think.
Was amazing.
14 Have chair on 5 minutes before Act 2 begins please Jack / Winnie.
15 Scene 1 I’d like this to be more edgy, Salieri and Constanza. Let’s see if we can do something with it later.
15  Scene 2 Salirei commiserating with Mozart, Venticelli groups please watch. When is this??? We’ll do quick run-through of scene that went awry last night.
16 Scene 6 as the Emperor, Orsini Rosenberg, von Strack, van Sweeten arrive at the theatre for rehearsal. All should be a little quieter with then text, as if in on the rehearsal and not wanting to interfere.
17 Scene 11 The Prater, Constanza and Mozart, come in bit earlier. Be on steps as Salieri saying his lines.
18 “It all began so well.” Mozart, you can slow this a teensy bit.
19. Final images are great, into Annie Leibowitz. You can all enjoy this and maybe start first to move back before turning to Salieri. It works when you are seated also. Don’t forget to eyeball the audience as you disintegrate.
That’s it. All bits and pieces. It’s running really well. Just the sheer enjoyment now.
Scene 5 was late starting. Can’t remember if I said this last night John.
P 39 Music from part with V1  & V 2 can continue on into Bonno’s a bit longer John, over Mozart’s text.
Scene 10 a bit late.
P 88 softer – mentioned last night
P122 Softer.–– mentioned last night
Page 24, not sure what was wrong Paul. Man note says, “lighting on stage”?? Maybe the spot is gone and I would have liked one.