Friday, January 8, 2010

January 7th rehearsal

Today seemed to be less intense. The idea of school and rehearsal are sinking faster into our brains. Our bodies are still getting used to the long hours and movement.

There were a lot more vocal warm-ups today. The cast learned "Zoo, woo, shaw." This warm-up focuses on the range of your vocals. There is movement that goes along with the vocals. This movement matches where the sound is coming from in your body. Joanna and Maria led us in this warm-up at a pace that everyone was able to keep up with.

Before I had the cast draw, I led them through a trust and detail exercise. I learned it from a friend wanted to try it out: Everyone stands in a circle facing the same direction. They close their eyes and start to explore the person in front of them. They want to memorize their hair, their back muscles, their clothing, etc. Keeping their eyes closed, I strategically placed the cast members a different parts on the stage. They then had to find the person in front of them by just feeling for the detail they memorized earlier. The goal is to reform the circle they began in by just touch and trust. They were successful both times they did the exercise!!

Todays drawing: Someone you look up to.

The cast is really starting to have fun with their drawings and think outside of the box. One person drew Gene Simmons from kiss as their hero!

We continued to block today and got to some of the fun parts in the script. The cast really loves to become kids! There is a scene where the chorus and Benjamin play tag. I had to run through it quite a few times, to make sure that the environment and blocking was safe for their rough-play. By the end of this they were all sweating and catching their breath! We skipped a few scenes with just Mother, Father, and Benjamin and focused on the scenes with the chorus. After a physically exhausting rehearsal I sent the chorus home early and kept Zane, Joanna, and Emily to go back to the 2 scenes we skipped.
As we began to do one of the scenes, I realized something wasn't working. Images were not grabbing my eye. Something was was the set. I don't have a set designer because I wanted the set to be a collaboration between director and actor. That is exactly what happened last night. The four of us sat and ran through ideas of how the blocks could be more interestingly and strategically placed on the stage. We figured it out!!!!!!!

It was really satisfying working together with my cast members to create a great set to play on! We had fun doing it and the collaboration was thought-provoking. It is a really great feeling when you accomplish something so creative with your actors.

After this session of building ideas, it was time to go home and get some rest. I don't need anyone getting sick! Next rehearsal is on Saturday and I am pumped to show the rest of the cast the new and improved set!!!

January 6th Rehearsal

First day of classes. First rehearsal back from break. An exhausting day.

Today we started off rehearsal by warming up. The actors seem to like the vocal warm-up "What it to do, to die, today" and the physical warm-up "Chop, chop, saw." "What it to do, to die, today" focuses on annunciation and diction. "Chop, chop, saw" is used to build focus, rhythm, and energy within the group. First the cast played to get the hang of the game and then started to eliminate those who could not keep up with the rhythm. Usually there are two winners in the game because there must be three people to execute the necessary actions but Emily and Moira both missed a beat simultaneously, leaving Jordan as the solitary winner!

Every day after warm-ups, I will give the actors a subject to draw. Benjamin was able to express his emotions in his artwork, so I thought I would give the cast a chance to do this as well.

Todays drawing: Favorite pet or favorite animal.

After warm-ups all cast members gathered around in a half-circle. I spread out paper, crayons, and markers in the center of the circle. The cast immediately started to draw their cats and dogs from home and one member even drew "Bubbles" the pink elephant (this is their dream pet). I told them to interperate the subject however they liked. Some drew cartoon styles, others realistically, and a few put shoes, hats, and ties on their animals.
During the time that the cast draws, this also allows them to tell stories and bond.

First day back and we immediately got the play on its feet. I had created images that I wanted to portray and used the rehearsal time to get them there. The first 14 pages of the script are very difficult. There are constantly 7 or 8 people on the stage and the setting is always changing. All of us put our brains together to come up with new and fun ideas. Without some of the props it is hard to fully execute the blocking because there are silks that play an integral part in the movement.

All in all, a lot was accomplished on this long and exhausting day.