Thursday, June 14, 2012

Caesar is master of the sound bite

“Rome," in our play, "is a world of rhetoric, brilliantly structured speech; Egypt is unconsidered, from the heart." Caesar is master of the sound bite, and Grant Chapman as our Caesar is so perfectly calculated and chilly you could chip him--though you wouldn't guess it from this photo, where he is in the back row, second from the right. On day 3 the full cast of A&C is together again, working their way slowly through the text, history, politics. Follow Melody Bates' A&C blog, too, which she started even before rehearsals began: 

Today 10 Real Star Acts has only four single actors, those who are not doubling. They are developing bits and the “family” relationships. They are brilliant, and Esther Adams among them. She is one of the overlapping actors, in both shows, and is completely holding her own in this professional cast. See her in the A&C cast photo above right, plus here is Aryeh’s daily:

So long actors, Triskelioin, and New York for now, as I am on my way to Maine . . .

Anyone get the feeling that your movement is not your own?

Both casts, for Antony and Cleopatra, and for 10 Real Star Acts, are rehearsing at Triskelion in Williamsburg. Four actors overlap the two shows. Day two sees Antony and Cleopatra, Enobarbus, and Caesar working in one room and the first rehearsal for Vaudeville in another. Director Jeffrey Frace begins the Vaudeville rehearsal as he always does with physical ensemble work. This is a particularly ensemble driven show because, building on an outline Frace has prepared and character work that  began in auditions, this cast is developing the show. “Anyone get the feeling that your movement is not your own? That’s a good feeling. Keep it,” he calls into the early work. Good general advice, I’d say. Each actor takes the hot seat in turn and does a character interview with Frace. All of us ask questions and the characters and relationship visibly grow as actors inspire and feed off each other.

Here is what Frace wrote to them before rehearsals began: “Here is a starting place for our script. It's an outline that serves to explain how we might deal with time (1912/2012), some key plot points, how acts may flow into one another. The acts aren't set, nor are they exhaustive. We'll start building these right away, but you may be inspired to expand, explore and offer completely new things. And that will be great. I will offer assignments, guidance, space and ingredients to create material. We will all create material together. I will be the lead editor & organizer of the material. It will be great if you all, in the spirit of vaudeville entrepreneurs, come with stuff that you really want to do. For example, if there's a song you really, really want to sing, come make a pitch. I honor strong impulses, and how the song ends up in the show may not be what any of us expect at first, but this is a valuable component of how this kind of show gets built.”

Here is Aryeh’s Day 2 photo. He promises one per day and I will post these.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 1 Antony and Cleopatra rehearsals

by Judith Jerome

This cast is researched and ready! As we are doing on the Island, many of the actors have read Stacey Schiff’s biography of Cleopatra. Two questions stay with me from our day of tablework: Melody Bates (Cleopatra) asks—what about this great love between Antony and Cleopatra? What part politics, what part passion? Why does she, twice, turn her ships from the battle, for example? Director Craig Baldwin suggests that we are in this production enacting a kind of ritual, and Stephanie Weeks (Charmian) asks what that ritual wants to accomplish? These are juicy questions we will be answering in the next weeks . . .
Aryeh Lappin's Day 1 photo of the rehearsal room.