Last night, for the first time, we ran the entire show. We stopped for a five-minute intermission, but other than that we just kept going.
And last night, for the first time, it really felt like it worked.
We didn’t have the full set, we didn’t have lights, and most people didn’t use their
costumes (I did to try and make sure my changes work – they should; though my quick-change at the end is going to be a bit of a bitch). But we did it.
Coming off the heels of a rehearsal in which I felt like nothing worked, it was pretty spectacular to leave last night feeling like something fell into place. I wasn’t word perfect, and I know that the other actors weren’t either. There were some few calm calls for line, but I know I could have fought through them if I had wanted to. The pace still needs to be picked up before performance. But those things aside, we did it. We stumbled through.
And let me tell you, it can only go up from here, and it’s really going to be good.
Orlando and I have been in deep conversation about how to make 3.2 work. We’ve been trying to feed things in; ideas, notions, impulses, anything to get a different reading than just something flat. Last night, for the first time, we had a spark of something. We were engaged with each other, we listened, and something worked.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to my dear friend Angelo who took time out of his busy schedule to run lines with me and coach me through this scene particularly when we realized how much it wasn’t working. With his help, and with the support of my fellow cast-mates, something happened.
So; what worked?
I kept coming back to the idea that this was Rosalind’s first time really speaking with Orlando at any length. Her disguise, the mask she wears in the forest, really frees her to say whatever she wants without consequence. Her honor is only at stake if he discovers that she’s a woman, so so long as she can continue the charade of being Ganymede everything else will sort itself. This scene is a desperate attempt to engage Orlando, an attempt to find a way to spend time with him in a situation that’s mediated and in which she makes the rules. If she is teaching him courtship, then she has all the power (a situation which never would have been allowed at court). Rosalind is a woman completely abandoned and betrayed by all the men in her life; her father was exiled, her uncle then exiles her; it makes sense that she would be wary around the guy she wishes would become her husband. By making the rules herself, she takes a hand in her own fate and so setting up the Ganymede/Rosalind role-play concession is a vital step in ensuring a strong future for herself.
So what does a girl who likes a guy but is dressed like a guy say to that guy when she knows he kinda likes her back but she can’t reveal that she’s the one he’s in love with?
The answer is: she has a really hard time coming up with things to say.
Rosalind is a master of wit and she’s extremely good at entertaining people with it. But when she sees Orlando in the forest and decides to speak with him, the best thing she can come up with to say is “What time is it?”
….stupid, stupid, stupid.
Once I was able to feed that nervous energy into the scene, it gave us somewhere to
bounce from. Orlando had to figure out why I could sometimes engage with him and sometimes not, which meant he was interested in what I was saying. But I can’t let him get too physically close to me because, if I do, he may recognize me. But at the same time, his eyes are really pretty and I really want to touch him, but it’s probably a bad idea.
The rubber-band action gives us something to play with, and makes sure that we keep moving (a MUST on a proscenium stage).
Another thing which really helped was a suggestion by our director to “earn the touch”. There’s no way that Rosalind would touch Orlando casually (even if casual touching is something that I do rather frequently). Every touch should be important, magical, and something we work up to. Once we were able to emphasize the importance of the touch, we were able to really plug into the “I want to, but I can’t”, which in turn fed that nervous energy which the entire scene hinges upon.
So we did some solid work last night. It’s only going to get better as we build, grow, and prepare because we open in a scant nine days (and it’s only eight days before our invited dress with talk-back).
Curious about seeing us in our full glory? Tickets available here!