Monday, May 18, 2009

Picasso...the prequel cont.

Thursday, May 14
We only have two hours on a bare stage and then we have to get off in time for a music event to be staged that evening. We're doing a speed-thru. We're going to push cues, and focus on precision and accuracy of speech and enunciation. I tell them that at the end of rehearsal I'll select two prize winners and give them the dessert treat of their choice. The criteria for winning is excellence in both areas.
The rehearsal opens with Freddy the bartender laying down the gauntlet in front of the other actors. He pushes cues so hard that Gaston and Einstein find themselves fighting to keep up. It's fun to watch this kind of competition and to see how they rise to the bait. Some of the actors are lapsing into the trap of talking fast as opposed to pushing cues, and then in walks Sagot. Every word that comes out of his/her mouth (Sagot is a male character played by a girl, Madison) looks like it's being birthed. She stretches and contorts her face to the extent that some of her scene partners are at risk of breaking character. Clearly, Sagot has decided to shift the focus of competition to the area of enunication. I applaud her performance, and, as if on cue, the other characters, especially Freddy, take up the challenge, each one making faces and sounds that have been heretofore unseen and unheard. The effect is salutory. I can hear them, and I know that since I am growing deaf, if I can hear them, everyone else will hear them too. Everyone is smiling now and that too brings a certain element of delight to their performance. Interestingly, some of the actors begin to lose their focus on the enunciation while keeping on top of their cues. It's as if they can only focus on so many things at a time.

We wrap it up an hour later. I call the actors to the edge of the stage. From the pit I announce the winners. For overall combination of all elements both pace and accuracy and for a general willingness to compete, I select Freddy the bartender(Jeff). For taking raising the bar concerning clarity and for showing the rest of the cast how to reach that bar, I honor Sagot. Everybody claps; there seems to be universal recognition of their merit. I ask them to name their treat. Jeff orders a cotton candy soda from Sorbenots and Madison asks for a vegan chocolate bar from the local health store. Okay.

Before we call it a night, I tell them how much easier it was to understand them, how much more interesting it is when the pace is lively. Tomorrow night I tell them to meet in the Green Room. We're going to do another line-thru though I'm not sure where since the theater is unavailable, and then at 9:30 p.m. we're in the theater for a cue-to-cue rehearsal for light and sound cues. I tell them that if things go well the cue to cue should be over in an hour or so. I am so in denial. I send them home; they seem happy.


Blogger Kimberly said...

Saw Picasso on Saturday night! It was so cool to see how everything came together despite the obstacles along the way. I could definitely hear Steve Martin's voice in the overall performance, and I think the students really rose to the occasion. It seemed very well received - no doubt it has a greater impact than it would have if there had never been a fuss. The Loop Hole Stage Players won the war, and did so with style and grace. :) Congrats!

10:19 AM  

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