Wednesday’s rehearsal was held in the play room of a children’s after-school center on the Westside. We found ourselves in a very colorful, smallish room with a floor padded with familiar blue matting and toys all around. A chain for a tire swing hung from the low rafter, and the rehearsal was full of cheese wedges, toy noodles, and dodge balls (and breaks complete with Goldfish and Malted Milk Balls.) In some respects, it was a perfect location; we took off our shoes (except for Amy :) and got to work (play).
This was a unique rehearsal, as I was not myself. Many of our cast members are in and out of Los Angeles, most flying to the east coast for this or that wedding, as it is the season. I spent the evening filling-in for Patrick, who is in Raleigh at the moment. My goal for the evening was to be helpful and not get in the way. This was more or less a blocking rehearsal, so I did my best to channel my inner Patrick Baker and move around the stage as he may be inclined to do. I did my best to communicate with Dave about what my instincts were, what “my” Sartre might want to do or where he might want to go, without necessarily taking ownership of the role.
It was a unique experience. In one way, I was released from the responsibility of doing anything “right” because I had no responsibility of working toward a finished product or performance. Typically, I would have an eye on a super-objective of creating a finished product to be put in front of an audience; but without that long-term goal, it may have been easier to focus on moment to moment instincts. I also wasn’t trying to learn or remember my lines, so planting my nose firmly in the script gave me one less distraction. On the other hand, I was creating blocking for someone else, and I did want to make sure that I was being truthful so after I go through the blocking with Patrick he’ll be able to jump into the scene seamlessly. Also, I’ve got a responsibility to the other actors in the scene. Our time is a premium, and this was the opportunity for the other actors to work through their blocking. When they rehearse the scene with Patrick, if they have to start all over again, then the night was a waste.
All in all, it was a great rehearsal. It’s not all the time you work with a company where anyone can fill in for any role in a rehearsal. A big thank you to Creative Space for allowing us to come and play; it’s rehearsals like these that remind me that this is still my favorite thing to do.
- joseph l. roberts