Sunday, March 25, 2007

Goin' Big

Fun times. Two run-throughs of Act Two this afternoon: first, a blocking-focused run, which ironically had more line-related glitches than anything else. Good thing I've got an Italian line run scheduled for Tuesday.

Having reassured myself that the blocking was in good shape, I told the cast that our second run-through would be a chance to cut loose: to Go Big, or Go Home. That has been my mandate from the first day of rehearsals, but I've discovered how easy it is to lose sight of it, especially when you don't have a chance to see the "big picture" of the play. Now that all the scenes are settling into order, it's easier for the actors to find their objectives and play their arcs. And, for these characters, the arcs should break through the stratosphere. Hence: Go Big...

The change was remarkable. As I said after the second run, "it's a whole different play." Octavian's rage, Cleopatra's increasingly desperate histrionics, Antony's bipolar (or alcoholic) decline, send out shockwaves through each scene. The supporting characters were equally outstanding, going from mere witnesses to active participants in the catastrophe. This was especially true of Cleo's ladies and Antony's "sad captains", all of whom I've blocked as silent witnesses for many of the later plays. Thanks for reminding me of everything you have to offer these scenes!

Everything is coming together; even the Roman marching which caused such mathematical consternation clicked effortlessly into place during the warm-up. Today has left me optimistic as we move into the rocky period preceding our opening.

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