Friday, May 21, 2010

Leiris/Picasso: 05/21

Every rehearsal feels like a small piece in the puzzle that's only relevant in the context of the full process. Every time I walk into the rehearsal room, everything feels totally new, but the understanding we gained in the last session inform the work we do, and of course it all culminates in this fantastic & fully realized production that we'll have in 2 weeks (!!!).

A few days ago we took the play back to its roots--a sit-down reading. Some of the actors were frustrated but I thought it was a great opportunity to emphasize the distinction of every word, syllable, and punctuation within the lines, and for Dave to give us focused notes on our intentions. Last time we met, we had a member of the BSTC ensemble, Drew DiFonzo Marks, come in to offer some targeted direction, specifically on comedic elements. I really enjoyed having a new perspective from someone less familiar with the text and just lookin' to laugh. So, when we were working with Drew I wasn't focusing on every syllable like I had been-- but that work was going on subconsciously all the while. We'd added that piece, and moved on to place the next element.

The other thing I'll mention here is how great it is to have designers come in to rehearsal. They spend part of the time watching and learning, observing the movement of the play and getting to know the characters in real life, and then some time working on their own and just sharing the energy of the room with us. It feels really good as a performer to get to collaborate even if it's sort of removed. And, as the play's producer I'm stoked to see the investment in the process and have an opportunity to meet with the production staff more often! Thanks to Juliana (set), Sarah (props), and Priscilla (costumes) for stopping in over the last couple weeks!

-jenny byrd

Monday, May 10, 2010

Leiris/Picasso: 05/10

Because I come in about half way through the play, I was cast weeks ago but just got to do my first real rehearsal Tuesday. Not being a member of the company nor called for rehearsal for so long, I was actually a bit nervous about it. But I’ve got to say that the Brimmer St. gang are great to work with; friendly, supportive, and really good actors. We all just plowed in and I felt totally comfortable after about 15 seconds. Thanks to all.

I think it’s fair to say that I get to chew a fair amount of scenery in the last part of Act 1, and I must say the activity kicked my butt. I was exhausted that night and literally sore the next day. But it was that good tired out feeling. And I was ready for more on Wednesday.

I am always skeptical about but willing to try new plays. But even as a skeptic I think we’ve got a really got a chance with this one. What a crazy idea to write a farce with a bunch of philosophers, very serious writers, feminists, etc. as characters and with these in particular. And yet, I believe it’s going to work. The writing is great and it all makes (non)sense. I am having a great time. I hope my fellow cast/crew are, too. And I especially hope the audience will.

The Spanish is a bit tough for me because we are still tuning the lines. I had memorized a bit too early and now have to relearn some tongue twisters, but they will come. I am never confident about accents until well into the process, but no one is making fun of my Spanish accent at this point so maybe it’s not too bad. Or maybe they are all really polite.

It’s a rare chance ones gets to be this big on TV, film or even on stage. So I am going a bit broad (totally nuts). I trust David will pull me back if it’s just too, too.

One of the lovely things about working on this play right now is that I needed a reminder of why I act. Because it is so damned much fun.

- Fred Ochs