We passed a bit of a milestone with last night's rehearsal for "The Hollow." Not counting tech week we're halfway through the rehearsal process for this show. I mentioned that fact to an actor, and she got very nervous. Only four more weeks to pull together lines, blocking and character.
Personally, I'm always quite happy, as an actor or a director, the closer we get to opening night. It's the producer in me that gets progressively more stressed out as time runs out and things still aren't ready, but usually I'm much more comfortable with how things are coming on the acting front. Really, by the time you get to tech week the only way an actor can really cause Armaggeddon is if they don't know their lines, and while this is a constant fear on any production, I will go out on a limb and suggest that it won't be a problem on the The Hollow.
With a cast of twelve enthusiastic men and women the parts are reasonably evenly divided, so that makes less for everyone to learn. On top of that, I have a good core of "veterans" - people I've worked with before, so I know what to expect from them, and there are also some people that I've never worked with before but who have worked with other companies I am familiar with, so I know that they will be ready in their own time in their own way as well. That just leaves the "newbies" - people I have never worked with before, and I'm happy to report that they too are coming along quite nicely.
Up until now we've been just working on very small chunks of the show every night. But as of last night we finished the "blocking" part of the rehearsal process - now we've looked at every part of the show at least once, in a considerable amount of detail. Now it's time to move to the next step, the "working" rehearsals, where we start to get some polish, timing and finesse, where an actual performance starts to emerge. We'll be working with progressively larger chunks of the play from here on in, so people will get a chance to see the entire play start to come together, as well as see how they fit into it. This is very important for an actor, to learn know that they are not labouring away in obscurity, that their role in the larger narrative is very important.
We have actors that I have only seen once or twice over the past four weeks - some people are still struggling to remember everyone's name! So I'm glad that we'll have a chance to get more people together. Perhaps there will even be a few "team-building" activities thrown in some night - there are a ton of theatre games that directors have been using for year to get actors to open up to each other, to feel more comfortable in rehearsal, to bond as a cast.
The next four weeks will be the most hectic in the production, if I have anything to say about it - I'd rather be busy now than in tech week, so the more we can get done now the better on the tech front we'll be. This will take some of my time and energy away from rehearsals and the actors. But I think we've got a great base established, and my process from here on in will be more about helping the cast bring this show to life than anything else, a task I think they are quite ready to take on.
See you at the show.