Thursday, January 19, 2012

"A lotta touch of Harry in the night"

by "a secret source within the rehearsal hall"

What's it like being an actor in The Henrys? A little like being on the march to Agincourt. Hurry-up-and-wait... Stay focused for hours on end... give your captain your full respect and attention.

Tonight we finished up our work in the rehearsal hall with our first full run throughs of both plays, Henry IVand Henry V. It's a very satisfying sort of tired. Tomorrow we move into tech in the theatre (and so begins a weekend of 10 out of 12s).

What I have learned in the past 5 weeks:

  1. If you give the rehearsal your full focus, even when you're not on stage, that care and attention will all come back to you.
  2. It is just as hard to listen and react on stage as it is to have all the lines and be in the spotlight.
  3. Referring to 2 above: you can learn a lot by shutting your mouth and observing Ray Dooley.
  4. Bring your imagination to the role / the scene, but listen to Joe and Michael; they will give you gold. 
  5. Everyone is a soft touch for Tug, the PRC dog.
  6. Playmakers is the most supportive arts organization I have had the pleasure to work with; actors, designers, admin staff... everyone counts.

What should the audience watch for in The Henrys? Something struck me about three weeks into rehearsal. In one particular rehearsal I was living with Falstaff and Hal. These characters only exist as theatrical creations, and after years of reading them / reading about them, there they were, in the flesh. It was a magical moment; one that can only be experienced when you have really good actors doing the work.  I can't wait for audiences to reach this same point of realization, as I am sure they will with all elements of The Henrys.

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