Sunday, November 6, 2016

Long Division: Second Week of Rehearsal

If you'd asked me on Wednesday how things were going in terms of building the show, I probably would have smiled tightly and said "We're getting there ... slowly." I confess I was a bit panicked by the incremental progress we seemed to be making in blocking the play and integrating this with the movement sequences. And then there were all the other production elements that had yet to be integrated, including sound, lighting and video. Richard had distributed a scene breakdown table earlier in the week, with columns for all of these things and by mid-week a lot of them still remained blank.

But what a difference two days away makes. In the interim, Richard and the cast had sketched the blocking for all but the last few pages of the play, Lesley had set the movement for the top of the second act and refined several other sequences, and the designers had held a production meeting in which much of the video had been locked down and a production schedule laid out for paper tech, lighting hang, set load-in and install, and Q-2-Q. Clearly I should keep clear of rehearsals more often.

That said, I was back at the Gateway yesterday to watch Richard set the remaining blocking in the morning, as well as Lesley teach the actors in the early afternoon what she had come up with for the part near the end of act one in which Mobius bands are discussed. Then it was time for a stumble through of the whole play. To this point the scenes had been built and rehearsed in fragments, often out of order, and so it was revelatory to watch the whole thing unfold from start to finish, hiccups included. I know Lesley was concerned with the execution of much of the movement in the second half, and we have yet to come up with a physical score for the ending, but I was so pleased to see where we were. Rough around the edges though it currently is, we at least have a structure. And as Richard reminded Lesley and myself, there was, relatively speaking, still a fair amount of time to refine and polish things.

And all of this was accomplished in the midst of some unexpected and deeply trying personal circumstances for one member of our team. This play is partly about dealing with grief and let's just say that it has been a bit of shock to have that theme hit so close to home. But it has also reminded me of what a strong and resilient tribe actors are.


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