In her fifth blog post Sophie discusses the technical rehearsals: moving on the stage, performing to tour groups and getting used to her costume. She also looks forward to the first performances.
Transcript of Podcast
It's lovely to get on the stage. Obviously, it feels very different from the rehearsal room. To feel all the different elements of the space around you is quite thrilling. I think, at the moment, I'm moving about the stage for the sake of movement. In one sense that's not a very helpful thing to be doing, but then again, I'm discovering where I can move to and each movement could mean for the audience. However, I do feel like I’m just ranging about - hopefully it will calm down soon! I'm pleased we're on the stage now. I think we needed to get out of the rehearsal room – it was like we’d swollen up a bit too much in there and the play needed to get out. The move was very timely. It felt very right coming on to the stage.
I find it quite useful to address the tour groups who come in and out of the theatre during technical rehearsals. You can’t get upset about the fact that they come in to watch, then get up and wander away. That's to do with their schedule rather than your performance! In a funny way, it takes the pressure off. We can start to get used to people moving about as they will during a performance, and as that movement is not something I’m used to, it's good to have a chance to familiarise myself before the previews. I’ve found that having people there also helps to focus my concentration because I’ve got to listen even harder to what the other characters say. This morning I practised my soliloquy at the end of Act two, scene four, and I really enjoyed it – I found that the fact there were people watching brought me out, rather than becoming too reflective and thoughtful.
I wore a corset all through the rehearsals to get used to the feel of it, and I’m glad I did because now we’re wearing full costume and I haven’t been too taken aback. I also wore my clippy-cloppy rehearsal shoes, which don’t feel very different from what I’m wearing as Isabella. So that aspect of the technical rehearsal has not been too difficult.
We’ve been doing run-throughs in rehearsal. It's always good to get to the point where you can see the play being put together. It's a bit of a shock at first, but exciting and interesting too. I learn such a lot from the different perspective that lends. It's as though the play moves into another phase, and shifts into another gear. The first run-through was very nerve-racking: I got through it just hoping that everything held together.
I think plays get to the point where they need the crucial ingredient: people watching, an audience. Hopefully by Friday [first Preview], we’ll be ready to welcome that ingredient in. We’ll see all the differences that ingredient makes, and what adjustments we’ll need to make as a result. I think John [Dove, Master of Play] has brought the ingredients together brilliantly. Producing a play is like serving a dinner: you cook it all up, and you just hope that you’ve chopped all the veg and really prepared well. You serve it up and then see how people respond. The first audience is always exciting. They really are the vital, final ingredient.
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.