Last weekend, we worked on putting two bits together that we have worked on previously. This will eventually become a set scene in the piece. We put the bit with Kelly and Shaun together with a bit that Ian and I did a while ago. First, in order to do this, we had to finish the movement between Kelly and Shaun that we had worked on in a previous rehearsal. I took Shaun’s place for the time being and we were able to finish the movement and work out some other movement for when only one person is talking. Then we went back to a bit that Ian and I did a while back in rehearsals. We sort of recreated what we had done before, but kept it improvised. We also started improving dialogue. Then we picked some places, in the scene that Ian and I had created, to pause and have the dialogue that Kelly and Shaun had created spoken. The first time that the dialogue was spoken, we had only one side of the dialogue spoken by one person, while the other person simply faced away from them. Then Ian and I continued with our scene and we found another place to stop. Next we decided that the one sided dialogue needed some movement as well. We brought out a white sheet that was in our rehearsal room and the two people played tug of war with it while only one person said their dialogue. This activated the dialogue much more. We came up with a movement that could be done for the first half of the dialogue as well. The sheet was dropped by the person who is speaking and the person who is not speaking tries to give the sheet back to the speaker. The speaker does everything s/he can not to get the she back in her/his hands. This is where we ended out first rehearsal that weekend.
When we came back together on Sunday, Kelly and I did the movement that we had finished for the dialogue between she and Shaun. Then we had Kelly and Shaun do the movement. We were unsure which coupling we liked better. We decided that, in combining these two scenes, we would make the partners fluid so that one couple wasn’t together for the entire scene. This was difficult to maneuver, but we figured out a switching order and some transitions and tried it out. This was rough, but it gave us an idea of how the scene will go and how to transition between partners. We also decided that during the bit that Ian and I originally created, the actors would not talk.
So our last few rehearsals before break were very productive. I just neglected to write about them because of end of semester craziness. We had someone come in to watch one of our rehearsals, which was extremely helpful because he gave us really good advice. I had started to feel like I wasn’t sure where to go next with our rehearsals and that if we continued doing exercises like we were doing, we would never create anything cohesive. Our visitor told me not to be afraid to start “directing” or shaping things. This was helpful because I was afraid that by directing I would ruin the creativity and spontaneity that we had. However, if I didn’t do this, no one would get anything from the piece. So I started to take the things that we had created and go deeper with them with individual people and put things together in different ways. We went deeper with some people with their masks and put them in situations that might make the mask comfortable or uncomfortable. These have been the most interesting to me so far and have started to create a sort of narrative.
At the very end of Christmas break, I went to the region 2 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival with a group of BW students. At this conference, I did a workshop with some people from the Living Theatre, which was an awesome experience. We did some things in the workshop that I wanted to bring back to our rehearsals, and we did a couple of these things tonight. The first thing we did tonight at our rehearsal was a chord. I did this with the piece we created in the Living Theatre workshop and it was a nice ending to our piece. I thought it could be a possible ending to the piece that we are working on here at BW. So as a company we all just start singing a note and it creates a “chord.” It’s not necessarily very musical. It tends to be pretty cacophonous. We invite the audience members to join us in the chord and I find it to be a nice unifying ending. At rehearsal tonight, Kelly suggested that we try the same thing with rhythms. We did this and it was also pretty cool. So this is a possible ending for our piece. The other thing we did today that I learned in my workshop with the Living Theatre was a sequence of tableaus. In the workshop, there was a chime which told us to move and when the chime rang again we were to freeze. Tonight, as we started doing this exercise, someone mentioned that the room we were in looks cool when its night and the street lamps shine in. So we opened all of the blinds and turned out the lights. Then we decided that everyone would move in the dark and we would turn on the lights to see the picture. The signal for everyone to stop was two hand claps. The darkness created a neat effect. I watched for a couple of tableaus and then Kelly traded places with me. After Kelly watched us she talked about how it reminded her of being caught doing things we may do when were alone. Things we do in the dark when no one is watching and then suddenly having the lights turned on and having eyes on us. We played with this idea by having Chelsea do the lights and turn them on whenever she felt like it without giving the rest of us any warning. Next we played with some symbolism. I turned out the lights and had everyone move freely, then when I clapped my hands and turned the lights on they were all to be in a straight line. I did the same thing again and they were all meant to face away from each other. When I turned the lights on a third time, they were not given any warning and were caught in the dark. After this work we talked about Chelsea’s mask and did some exercises to physicalize and work on telling a story with it.
Another thing that I did at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival was watch some devised performances. There was one that really stuck in my head and I liked how they presented a conversation. I would like to try what they did with some previous dialogue that I have from rehearsals. I have been watching and listening to recordings that we have and I am working on a script for this for our next rehearsal.