Wednesday, January 10, 2007

First Rehearsal: Honour and Lust

I've been feeling a bit out of sorts over the play for the past few days, and a part of me dreaded the prospect of bringing that ennui into tonight's rehearsal. But, as it turned out, the source of my problem became apparent immediately -- and then resolved itself at once. I needed my cast! My excitement over the show had stalled because I couldn't move any further forward without having a cast around me. Now that's been remedied, and I feel great.

We had a strong turnout tonight, despite the crappy winter weather. After I babbled for a bit about "rules for directing" and "rules for Shakespeare," we got down to business. First we had an interesting discussion about the play, revolving chiefly around the notions of "honour" and "lust" -- not only sexual lust, but also lust for power, lust for life, and maybe even a general "life force" (which is the term Marvin Rosenberg uses in The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra).

I was able to correlate these two concepts to the public/private dialectic; that is, I argued that "honour" is a public force because it requires outside observers in order to confirm it (ie. you can't be "honourable" unless others think you are), whereas "lust" is a private affair. If this is true, then it strikes to the heart of the conflict in the play -- not just Antony's, but everyone's. What is more important: public honour/responsibility/loyalty, or private lust/love/need? How does one decide?

After that, we did some name & line exercises, and started to invent a system of visual status for the world of the play. I'm excited to see where that goes (I only got a glimpse of each one tonight). I'm equally excited to watch as this cast gets acquainted and begins to bond. I can already sense the stirrings of a wonderful ensemble.

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