Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Week Two of Rehearsals

Miranda performs her monologue at Whole Foods.

We just finished our second week of rehearsal for our production of Coriolanus. We’ve put so much time, effort, sweat and fake blood into this play, which makes it seem like we’ve been rehearsing for much longer than two weeks!

I could go on for hours explaining all we cover in just one rehearsal. This week we focused on every aspect of the production. We finished roughing through all of the blocking for both acts. To be expected, as the week went on numerous changes were made. After blocking the play, we did a couple walk-throughs of what we had established. This allowed us to get a better sense of the flow of the play, and to make changes where they were needed. We also spent time this week working through the scenes individually, polishing the acting and really getting into the core of what was happening in each scene. Our director, Mark Cabus, describes the process as “building up the play, tearing it all down, and then building it up again.” It was beautiful the way bits and pieces of a script started to morph into a work of art.

As the play started to come together, technical aspects of the production also began to take shape. It was amazing to watch all of the lights being put into their places. Seeing the cords, tape, and fresh paint brought a smile to my face. We are less than a week from opening night! I don’t think the words exist to explain the feeling; perhaps an insane mix between exhaustion and euphoria is the best way to describe it. For obvious reasons, I was dreading our 12 hour Saturday rehearsal. Spending all day in the park heat, sweating, and working all day didn’t seem nearly as appealing as sleeping. I was shocked at how quickly the time passed and how much fun I had. When we first arrived we were fitted for costumes, something everyone has been waiting for. The costumes are so awesome! We did scene work, a read-through, and then we began a technical run-through of the play. During the run-through we stumbled upon some problems but in my opinion, it went wonderfully. I feel that it was one of the most successful rehearsals yet. I left that night in awe and with an incredible amount of excitement. I know that quite a few members of the cast share my eagerness for an audience. We’re all so excited to show everyone what we’ve been passionately working on for weeks. When the Apprentice Company first joined the primary cast, we had already spent two weeks training together. In no way was Apprentice Company training a boot camp of any sorts. We had built relationships and developed countless inside jokes, all while learning an inconceivable amount. I felt I could spend the rest of my life working on Shakespeare’s text, doing movement exercises, and of course eating delicious meals provided by Whole Foods. I will admit that I was a little apprehensive about joining the primary cast and actually working on the play. I thought that maybe professional actors would somehow ruin atmosphere that we, the Apprentice Company, had developed. As these last two weeks flew by I have to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong. The adults have added a wonderful element of experience that has been such a joy to learn from and to watch. It’s such a rush to have the opportunity to hear their thoughts on how to approach certain aspects of their character or of a scene. It’s phenomenal.

I feel so incredibly grateful to be experiencing this. So, thank you to everyone involved in our Apprentice Company training and everyone involved in this production. This is a summer that I will never forget. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to expand and grow from all that I’ve learned. I can’t believe this is only the half way mark.

By Miranda Fisher, Nashville School of the Arts

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rehearsals Begin

I can’t believe it’s only been one week since our first rehearsal! I feel like I’ve been in the park with the adult actors for months. It’s surprising how fast relationships grow when you’re bonding in the hot Nashville sun. At the end of last week’s Apprentice Company training, I felt like one of the best experiences of my life had just ended. But when I walked into the bandshell Monday afternoon to begin rehearsals, I realized it was really only the beginning.

Saturday was a read-through which was exciting. It was my first chance to meet the actors and actually see what the play was about. It was one of the most interesting read-throughs I have ever been to because the actors switched parts. Sweet Valeria was reading the part of warrior Coriolanus, while big Sicinius was reading the part of motherly Volumnia. Needless to say, during some parts it was hard to hold back giggles! On Monday and Tuesday we began choreographing the major fight scenes throughout the play. When I first heard the schedule, I was terrified. Last week I had gotten a taste of fighting at Roy’s farm and let’s just say I was not a natural fighter. It turns out I had nothing to fear, for the more skilled actors were always willing to slow it down or help me learn a new move. They were really nice about it and never became impatient.

The rest of the week was spent blocking the play and getting to know our characters. All of the Apprentice Company students are part of the huge city mob in the production. It’s a great part to play because the commoners are just learning their own strength. They are in a new position where they are in charge, and it is cool to see them test their boundaries. On Sunday we were given the chance to go to Whole Foods to perform our monologues. I was so nervous because it felt like training was decades ago. In the audience I could see friends, classmates, and even some of the adult actors who had come to watch! It felt great that our fellow Coriolanus actors had come to support us.

The play is just beginning to take its form and it is looking awesome. I am so proud that I get to be in such a great production which such talented actors. I am learning more than I thought was possible, and I am grateful to be given the chance. It seems that at the end of the day the sweaty clothes, sunburned skin and bags under my eyes are worth it!

- Lindsey Myrick, student at Harpeth Hall

Choreographing a fight scene

The cast choreographs a fight scene during rehearsals in Centennial Park.