Saturday, November 12, 2016

Long Division: Third Week of Rehearsal

Today is Q-2-Q day for the play. It's a long, twelve-hour day for the cast and production crew as they work to resolve and lock down all of the different sound, lighting, and video/projection cues in relation to the text and movement. Things are a bit more complicated than usual on this front for a number of reasons. First, there is the sheer number of cues (well over 80 for the video and projections alone). Then there is the fact that movement in Long Division is operating both on the level of traditional theatre blocking and in relation to an additional choreographic score. Richard and Lesley have been working hard, especially in the last week, to make the integration between the two as seamless as possible, but inevitably challenges arise with so much activity happening on stage--not to mention the sheer number of bodies engaging in that activity for the entirety of the play's 90+ minutes. Finally, there is the competition between the lighting and the video projections; despite the super-powered projectors video designer Jamie Nesbitt has borrowed for the production, as well as the decision to forgo any lino whatsoever in favour of the bare black stage floor, the word yesterday from the crew was that Jergus Oprsal's lighting was still washing out some of the images. (The fact that the Gateway's Studio B only has 24 dimmers for Jergus to work with isn't helping on this front.)

No doubt all of that will be resolved today (and possibly on Monday). For my part, it was just so exciting to see Lauchlin Johnston's amazing set installed yesterday, as well as a few of the designs Jamie has come up with projected onto it. Otherwise it was an intense day of grinding through with the actors and Richard and Lesley the finer details of both acts yesterday, especially with respect to the transitions between scenes. Part of me (the part eyeing next Thursday's preview performance) found the progress painfully incremental at times. But as Jennifer Lines said to me on the drive back into Vancouver, the minuteness and repetition of such drilling actually makes things go much faster in the long run. There is a moment, she said, when everything will click and fall into place for the actors and then the tech runs will seem like they are flying by. I certainly got a glimpse of this yesterday when we did full run-throughs of both acts; sure there were lines dropped and movement cues that were missed or late, but there was a definite sense that the actors were getting increasingly comfortable with the material and that things were coming together.

I can't wait to see a full run-through with tech to see all of the elements working off of each other. That will have to wait until Tuesday afternoon for me due to other commitments, including an interview with Radio-Canada about the play. I don't know who I'm going to talk about mathematics in French, but hopefully I'll muddle through.


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