Before we broke for Christmas break, the 40 WEEKS Atlanta crew had three very different rehearsals which helped to solidify what I love about this process – and what I don’t.
The first rehearsal was a stumble through minus one actor. The goal of this rehearsal (and Topher has a goal for each one which is a great but obvious idea) was to give the actor who replaced another actor a chance to feel the play, and see how it connects. It was an incredibly frustrating process for this new actor, as he had been on the job for about four days. It was made more difficult by the fact that one section of the set was re-imagined the day before. There were a few comments that made the room ice – I cut my eyes more than once to the stage manager who smiled nervously. One or two of the other actors lowered their game in response. I was worried. The director ignored it, and by that I mean that he recognized how frustrating it must have been for our actor, allowed the actor to live in and through that, and did not hold it against him. Smart and wise.
Rehearsal the next day was completely different. Whereas the night before we were working on the entire play, today we were working with just the two female leads, who have several scenes together. The actors showed immediate chemistry in the audition and have been doing good work ever since. Here is the big fun – at least to me. Watching two good actors and a good director play for the nuances of the moments. The architecture of the scene has already established, both actors know what they’re trying to achieve, and have done major homework on their relationship. Now they play, and it is awesome to watch. This is the part where you get to see if the great moments you think you crafted actually work, and even get to discover some you only subconsciously intended. So. Much. Fun.
The third rehearsal the next day was back to a full cast and a run. Our first real stumble through with everyone in it, and again, with one actor only being on board for less than a week. This time, all of the tension from the last group rehearsal was gone. There was no attitude, no fear. All of the actors went for it, let it go when they messed up something, and returned to the present moment. More of the fun.
It was a great way to end rehearsals before Christmas Break.
Go team. More to come . . .