Speed Dial

Last week I started rehearsals for a play, a full length play. It opens a week from tomorrow.

Typically a rehearsal schedule is three or four weeks of rehearsal followed by a week of tech and dress rehearsals, followed by a preview or two or a dozen, depending. This rather condensed process is more akin to summer stock, but without the shorts, t-shirts, drinking and communal living. Compared to stock, we also have shorter rehearsals, if only because everyone’s also working their day job. So, perhaps nothing like stock other than make choices and keep moving. (This schedule also makes these long days and weeks a complete blur, as they whiz past. I’ve felt like I’m in a daze for the past 48 hours.)

I think it’s going to come together just fine, and parts of it I expect will be rather good. There’s a lot I’m not sure of. None of that matters, of course, as I’m just an actor, and I can’t worry about what others are or aren’t doing, or how the production elements are or are not coming together. I can only concentrate on my own work and collaboration with my castmates.

Of course, I’m hoping that the fact that I haven’t yet had a costume fitting, and dress rehearsal is five days away, won’t make me wish I’d done some crash diet.

The show was blocked and shaped very quickly, and we began working scenes. Suddenly we’re off book, despite a few rough patches. It’s a ridiculous amount to have consumed in this short time. A couple of the other actors and I were talking last week about the challenge of getting off book, as we usually find it best to memorize while doing. The words and actions get melded, it’s a physical memorization. But this time the words had to be put first, and the process is clunkier. It has certainly given my line learning abilities a work out.

The saving grace about that, and a number of other elements, is that it’s a mystery play, Dial M for Murder. It’s all plot. There aren’t layers and layers of character and relationships and depth to the thing. It’s not without its nuances or its opportunity or need for fine detailing in the underlying specifics, but the words do much of that work and there’s a lot of Q an A.

As long as you’re the one doing the A you only need to listen to the Q.

At this point I think I’m going to wish we’d had another week for polish, but we don’t. We’re all determined to use the week we have left to its most efficient.

I’ll make a note to return here next Thursday before the final dress (or is it preview?) and see if my thoughts on this foggy morning were off base.


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