Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blocking to the Beat

On Saturday, the process of actually putting the show together started. Since May we've been running the music--now, we're blocking.
For the theater un-initiated, that means that the director gets to tell us what to do, when, in each scene. So Robin says things like "all society people cross the stage on 'every'."

The wole rehearsal wasn't blocking. We started in the choir room, as usual, with warm-up and running a few numbers. The first was "Confrontation," the climax of the show, where Jekyll tries to defeat Hyde in the lab. David (our J/H) was there, so he sang his parts while we (the chorus) sang along with him. As I've previously mentioned, there are words that we speak in rhythm, and then the actual singing is on "ah." We ran it three times with the accompaniment, and it sounds great. David is awesome in the title role and I can't wait to hear him sing more of it. After that we ran through the two Facade reprises--Facade 2, which occurs right before the end of the show (the wedding), and Facade 1, which precedes Emma and Jekyll's engagement party in Act I. After that, it was to the stage.

Actual set building begins tomorrow (I believe--it may have started today), so when we got onstage the only thing that was marked for the set was the tape lines that indicated the scaffolding that will surround the floor proper. Several people are stationed up here throughout the show.

Robin started with the opening number, "Facade". To start, I am on the left side of the scaffolding, with another "street person" (a guy) and an upper class couple. There are four girls on the center part (also representing lower-class folk) and two street people and an upper class couple on the other side. The rest of the cast (save Jekyll, who isn't in this number) are on the stage, proper. So while we were doing this I had to imagine I was actually about, oh, seven feet in the air and I was looking down on the cast, instead of at them.

It took, I think, about 90 minutes to block the opening number. This is where being "off-book" is important, because we were, of course, singing and acting as we did this. Robin would give us bits and pieces, and then we'd run the section, the runs getting longer as we progressed through the scene. Of course you must know your words, here. I would say about 95% of the cast didn't even have the scores with them, and the few that had them didn't have their faces stuck in them, they were just for reference. It's also important that your part is solid, or close to becoming so, because you're intermixed with other parts at this stage. In my little group there's a tenor, a baritone, and a soprano. There are altos to my right, but they'll be on the floor come show time, and I'll be up above, so I can't rely on them.

After we ran through it twice (pretty successfully!) we were dismissed to the weekend. Whew.

Tomorrow--dance rehearsal! Will we get the Bob Fosse inspired moves down this week? At least I get to use the new "Character" shoes I bought at Opening Night this week!

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