Having decamped the Ukrainian Centre for the Roundhouse, last night's rehearsal also marked Sylvain's return, and our introduction to the children who will be spotlighted during the "Fatboy Slim" section. Everyone in our corner was very appreciative of the extra space afforded by the Roundhouse theatre, not least Sara, Leslie and Jane, who no longer have to bang against a wall during the stage right travel sections of "Stockfunk" and "India." That said, while the lighting lent an added element of theatricality to the whole proceedings, it also made things even hotter than the already stifling UC. I definitely sweated the most so far.
Then again, that could just be due to Sylvain putting us through our paces. He seemed genuinely impressed by most of what he saw, although our eagerness to please combined with the excitement of being in a new space contributed to a bit of a bungle on our first few attempts of "India": we went too fast to begin with and our first cross was a disaster. But we recovered quickly and we were all on our marks by the end of things.
After that we spent a lot of time on "Cumbia," with Sylvain reminding us that the devil is in the details. This meant, among other things, correcting our focus during the walk-like-an-Egyptian bit; encouraging us to look scarier (and to scream) during the downstage and upstage monster crunches; and inviting us to travel more on the walk leading into the soldier steps.
But all of this was preceded by our first full run-through of the "Fatboy Slim" section, which meant we were finally let in on the secret of the children's participation, and their role in drawing attention to and then initiating our rising up from our slumped positions on the floor. I'll leave that secret as something to be discovered by audiences who attend the performances. For now, I'll just say that I was relieved to discover that beyond a few arm snaps and some general shaking and writhing there wasn't a lot of new choreography to learn.
On my way to rehearsal I'd stopped by Value Village on East Hastings to ferret out some costume possibilities. I was mostly disappointed by what I found, but I did come away with one shirt that was chosen because it matched the colour of one of the pairs of trainers I'll likely be wearing during two of the four performances. Most of the folks I showed it to gave it a thumbs up. But I still need something to go under it to keep me warm and to wick away the moisture. So far I've been thwarted by Mountain Equipment Co-Op and most sports stores. Hilary and Sara and Diane variously suggested Mark's Work Warehouse, American Apparel and Winners--all of which I've been told are cheaper than Value Village! And you can return things! None of this solves the problem of what to do about a second costume, but at least we're making some progress.
On Wednesday Sylvain will start by definitively setting our entrances. Then it's more time with the kids and back to refining each section. During the second hour we'll be joined by some of PuSh's Patrons Circle members, who have been invited to sit in on one of our rehearsals as a perk for their donations to the organization. Hilary and I joked that they may ask for their money back. But Individual Giving Coordinator Katie Koncan, who dropped by last night to see how things were going, said she was gobsmacked by how much progress we'd made and that she was sure everyone would be most impressed.
In truth, the visitors' presence will likely be a good thing. Sylvain has been reminding us since the beginning that we're going to have people all around us during the actual performances and that they'll be very much in our faces, going wild and screaming and yelling out our names. But, still, the idea of an audience is something I've so far bracketed off as an abstraction, a bit unreal and way in the future.
Look's like that future is now here, and that it comes with people expecting to be entertained. Nothing to do but dance for them, baby.