In his penultimate blog post Mark discusses the technical rehearsals, getting used to his costume and the music cues, and preparing for the first performance infront of an audience.
Transcript of Podcast
Getting Used to Costume
The technical rehearsals have been quite fraught because there are a lot of costume changes. Everybody has their own things to worry about – it breaks up the unity of the company a little bit with every body focussing on their own thing. I haven’t got my full costume yet and am performing in my jeans! I don’t really mind for myself, but everybody comments on it – everybody comments on each others costumes and things like that. Also I have this moment where I have to jump on a barrel at the beginning and they’re worried that my trousers have to be cut in a certain way – that why I’m not rehearsing in them yet - so its all a bit frustrating. Then the wardrobe department are worrying about what shoes I’m going to have – my current shoes are really just too big. I’ve tried to wear them but they just aren’t working. I know it sounds silly, but shoes really do feel important! I’m also getting used to my hat. You have to start thinking about things that you’ve never thought of before. You have to think about keeping your head up and engaging with the upper gallery. Even more difficult is the fact that you’ve got this brim which means you can’t do certain things that you’ve worked out like touching your hair at certain points!
Getting used to lots of things has been difficult, especially the pillars where you have to work out and re-think where you’re standing. The tech is a funny thing where if you’re in the middle of a scene you’ll do it really quickly and that will be it - it’s probably the only time you’ll do it in the whole week. If you’re at the beginning or the end of a scene then you’ll do at least twelve times! So it gives the show a very uneven feeing. All the intricate work you’ve done in rehearsals goes out of the window at this stage. I just want to have a run of the show. You loose the shape and the structure of the play in tech week. You also have to get used to the planes in this theatre - there seem to be a lot more of them in the day.
There are a lot of music things that have taken up a lot of the time as well. There are over 40 music cues. In this production there will be underscoring as well as transition music. Some of the cues keep changing, so you never quite know what’s going to happen! At some moments there are sound effects - like when Portia pulls out her ring – you hear these bells. When you have unfamiliar things like this – its not that they distract you -you just need to know what and where they are.
At the beginning I was really worried about my voice and now I’m pleased about it. However, it is much easier maintaining your voice in tech week because you’re doing the show in chunks – you can relax and drink lots of water in between scenes. We’ll have to see how it goes after a few runs.
Preparing for the First Performance
I’ve got some friends coming to put on extra pressure! I am hoping we’ll get a dress rehearsal in on Friday and one on Saturday, the afternoon before we open. I think it needs an audience, certainly from the point of view of jokes and seeing if people are going to laugh and what they’re going to laugh at.
Throughout the day, there are many tours in the theatre with the general public. I thought they would be more distracting but they’re not really. It’s a little chance to think and try a few things out to see if they’ll react. Sometimes the tour groups will applaud after some bits. Sometimes its much harder to get a reaction because groups will see a scene completely out of context and it doesn’t stand alone. That’s what we hope is happening when they’re not reacting! I think the tours are actually very useful because the performances will be haphazard like that with people moving about, doors opening and closing etc. The wind is interesting as well – you don’t expect the wind to enter the theatre. There is one bit where we’re doing the trial scene and we’re supposed to be next to the river, or by a dock, and the theatre became windy, which I thought that was rather poignant.
These comments are the actor's thoughts or ideas about the part as s/he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his/her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses.