Monday, April 02, 2007

Meet the Block

Yesterday we moved downstairs, into the theatre proper. It was a bit of a traffic jam, because set construction and painting continue. But we've done everything we can in the rehearsal hall, and if we spend much more time upstairs, we're liable to get complacent with that (smaller, flatter) space.

The Walterdale space is something of a character unto itself. Its low grid, slightly uneven floor, and broad, curving apron make for a unique acting environment. It's difficult to forget that you're surrounded by walls and audience members -- a restriction which can make it hard to generate the breadth and grandeur of a play like A&C, but which can work to one's advantage, too. Remember that Shakespeare's theatre was open-air, and the audience was totally visible and mere inches away from the stage.

So the actors got to meet their acting ally, the stage. Plus several other new members of the cast: the pillars, the platform, the curtain (hastily and temporarily attached so I could play with the shadowscreen), and the block. This latter set piece really is like a character in the play; it moves, thanks to an ingenious rolling system devised by Erik and Doug Verdin; and it is used, at different points in the action, for sitting on, standing on, scrambling or leaping across, marching up and down, and dying upon (and against). It's much bigger than the bench we've been using so far, which was itself bigger than the two plastic chairs we started with. It's going to take some adjusting too, although the cast already seems to be getting the hang of it.

Finally, we met some of the lighting effects, in the form of a fairly loose tech run (I had expected sound also, but in retrospect, I'm glad we didn't have it -- the cast had plenty enough to worry about). Some of the levels will need to be boosted, I think, but overall we're in good shape in that department. I've also been informed that our costumes are now pretty much complete. Cool!

I think that puts us in very good shape for our cue to cue. With a little bit of luck, tech week will be a breeze.

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