[U8]: Task 8 – Rehearsal Process

The Last Supper

Initial research

At first I went off to look at the Adrian Edmondson’s & John Cleese’s sketch of “The Last Supper”.

Me and Will, who will be performing this piece tried casting it but couldn’t decide on who would be the pope and who would be Michelangelo. So we decided to ask Ryan for his opinion and he said that either of us could do it too. I’m going to ask Erica for her opinion and then in the end I will probably flip a coin with Will to see who’s who. We read through the transcript of the piece twice and indeed either of us could play either of the characters.

With Erica’s approval we have decided to perform each night as a different character because we couldn’t decide on who to cast as who.

Initial rehearsals

My first step to turn this into a performable piece was to download an app on my phone called: ‘Script Rehearser’ from which I am able to record my voice during the lines that are being said and I can memorise it all much more easily. A big plus is also the fact that I can listen back to the recording and check that my accent is alright.  I had to go back and re-record multiple times to get the British accent down moderately well since my natural accent is a mix of American and Lithuanian. I am thinking of utilising a British accent for this piece because that’s what they used for the original Monty Python sketch – wouldn’t make sense to change it into anything else.

We presented what we were doing to everyone else in the course so that everyone could have a better feel for the show and in which direction it’s going. I am quite interested to see where this ends up because from what I can see the dances that I originally thought were going to be boring are starting to sound more interesting. There are also a lot of songs compared to our last commission “Inspired by Film” in which there weren’t enough songs. Not that that matters to me because I didn’t sing in either of them apart from at the end of “Inspired by Film” where everyone sang, though I only got to sing the last bit because I have English GCSE instead of choir which is where they learned that song. I guess I am just slightly disappointed that I never get to sing anything. I have been involved in commissions with the dancers during “Inspired by Film” but never in a song. This show is similar to the last one in terms of groups of people having different things to show but from what I understand it will be made to look like the audience is visiting an art gallery and when they look at a painting it comes to life and becomes a performance related to the painting.

Further rehearsals

We had run through lines and thought of how we were going to perform this, which is currently very much inspired by the original Monty Python sketch. We both thought that it’s hilarious and recreating it sounds like it’ll be a challenge, we want to recreate it with a mix of the two different performances of it that are available online. Both of the scripts are altered slightly compared to the given script from Monty Python and both of them do a great job. We wanted to mix those two performances with the original script and see what we could come up with that was different and maybe even introduce some of our own comedy into it. However we haven’t yet come to that. I’ve looked into it but it’s much harder than it sounds like because the whole thing is already made up to be comedic gold and mixing things up makes it not make sense because things are set up the way they are due to the way the character is and how the script for each one flows. There is a possibility of altering or adding something in the end though.

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Erica wanted to see the whole show ran as it is not only to see how far everyone had gotten to but also to see if it all fits together nicely; whatever it is that people had done, was to be shown and recorded.

I (left) was the first one with Will (right) to perform ‘The Last Supper’:

I think it’s going really smoothly as it’s not a hard piece at all. Once we learn the lines it will be much easier. Currently I’m more familiar with Pope while Will is more familiar with Michelangelo. Our feedback was to obviously learn the lines because that’s how this piece was going to progress further. We needed to progress further with character as well.

My top three favourite pieces, in no particular order, looking at the work in progress from this day are:

Burlesque – Aperitif

A different kind of dance which is interesting to watch, it’s great fun and it’s different. That makes this piece one of my favourites. This piece needs to be very energetic and needs to develop some more character.

Incantation

This looks dangerous but it also looks awesome, I didn’t expect to have two dances in my top 3 but this is just looking really cool as well as this dance has some sort of horror story from what I gather so that’s even more interesting.

Company – Ladies who Lunch

This looks like it needs work on being slightly different from the original but I think once Lauren can sing this to just a backing track it will be an amazingly characterised piece.

My least favourite pieces, or the pieces that I don’t think are doing well are:

Quicksand – David Bowie

This is looks like this hasn’t had any work put into it and the work that has been put into it just looks really boring.

Wilde – Salome

She hasn’t read this properly from what I can see because she laughed at some bits. One thing is not having memorised the piece yet and another is not having rehearsed it properly yet. She also doesn’t seem to understand what she’s saying.

Water Lillies

This isn’t a bad piece, it might be my personal dislike for random dance pieces but two other dance pieces are in my top 3 favourite pieces so I don’t think that’s it. This just seems okay, it’s not good. It’s very boring to watch, it’s a slow moving piece which means that the execution of movements would have to be interesting to watch and they’re not really anything special.

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At another rehearsal we booked a room and ran the whole thing at least 5 times as each character. Now the characters are quite clearly distinguishable when we switch but lines are still not there which is troublesome, given that it’s not much to learn even if we have to learn both parts. They need to be learned so that we can make good use of interruptions. Speaking about that we talked about interruptions and how we’ll keep speaking until interrupted and what we will say. At the it will end up being a normal phrase that the character would have said if not interrupted which will make for a less exciting performance but if the other person doesn’t remember to interrupt at that point at least it makes sense and is not paused at a random moment like: “There were the twelve disciples and (pause)…”.

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Producer’s run:

I am playing as Michelangelo.

Feedback:

“Good piece. Perhaps needs a few thinking and reaction pauses? Comedy in the silent reaction at times. As usual they go through it like a dose of salts. A couple of ‘moments’.”

“Need to be more confident on lines and I think the staging and costume will help. I also agree with point of the pauses and silence. BUT not silence for silence’s sake as, in comedy, the cues have to be very sharp and any silence must serve a purpose.”

I agree with the feedback, we’re definitely rushing it a bit trying to get the lines out correctly and not thinking about comedic timing. I feel like this piece needs more listening and reacting rather than rehearsal. However we need the rehearsal’s to get the queues to be sharp.

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I had another rehearsal with Will which was quite smooth, we keep running it again, and again, and again, and even though we haven’t looked at the lines since last time we know more and more of them each time and the characters are quite solid. I’m feeling extremely comfortable with this piece now. Especially since we managed to, for the first time, run it without script at all while playing the characters we knew worse.

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We didn’t rehearse much because it was quite a simple piece that we thought would be performed easily so we did all of our research at home and of course because we loved this piece so much we thought that we knew what we were doing and doing it our own way is good. As well as not over rehearsing it because we thought that this piece needed some improvisation to go along with it. Not in terms of lines, but in terms of movement and how we say the lines. So when we rehearse a lot of the times we would just go through lines, possibilities of how we can say them, where and how we interrupt each other, what additions can we make to the script to make it funnier and more related things. In the end it’s the delivery of the lines that is funny and that’s what we should have probably rehearsed more.

TECH

Costume:

We attempted to make something to use a zucchetto but unfortunately we didn’t take a picture of it because Erica said that it wasn’t necessary and so we discontinued making it. Not only because it would look suspiciously bad when made of cardboard but also because we didn’t have the time to go get the materials for it. Thanks to Will we remembered that we also needed a cross necklace. We asked a techie to help us find one in tweed. We did, and it broke as soon as Will picked it up – the cross fell out of the loops. It wasn’t possible to get it back in through those loops so we tried using my keychain loop.

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It looked awful, as the cross would lift itself up and not lay down straight so while we were thinking another piece of the necklace fell out.

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Thanks to this extra segment of the necklace falling off we could attack the cross straight onto the big loop of the whole necklace and I just closed it with my teeth once the cross was inside.

cross

And the final result looked like that’s how it was made originally! Didn’t look like it was missing anything. We were very happy with the outcome.

As the pope I wore this:

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As Michelangelo I wore this:

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DRESS

DRESS #2

A Doll’s House

Initial research

I only found out I was working with Mia one or two days after we all knew what pieces we would be performing. Since I didn’t know the play yet I assumed I would be doing a monologue from that play. In a one-to-one session with Erica she explained that I would in fact be with Mia and we would be performing the last scene. All of this relating to the artwork ‘Separation’ by Edvard Munch.

Our first trouble was to figure out where to start from. We knew we would be ending the scene when the play ends but where should we start? What is too long? Where does it make sense?

I only had a chance to read the last scene later and I suggested that we would start during the bit where Nora goes off-stage to change her outfit and Helmer stays and does a happy vibes monologue. From then on the atmosphere would quickly change with Nora’s appearance and their discussion. It’s slightly long but nothing out of proportions. This is what we should work on I think since Mia also agreed on this after having thought of other starting points but they would have been too long to perform.

After seeing the painting for the first time and having read the last scene it all made a lot of sense as to why relate these two things.

Initial rehearsals

Our first rehearsal came about quickly only to discuss what we’re doing and to do a line read through. We came across a problem however. I was reading ‘A Doll’s House’ from ‘Scribd’ a website which provides online versions of books/plays/etc and she was reading the book format of the play. The book format was using an older English while the online version was much more easier to understand and appealing to both of us. Having read the scene once with each version we decided we wanted to perform it according to the online version but we needed the approval of Erica to do that. Either way the story is pretty much exactly the same so we did a very general blocking and set sketch in our brains. We talked about how it would end, where we would come in through, how we would start it, where she would put her hat and coat – Mia said she could use a coat hanger and I said we could use the couch (two chairs) to put it on so that we use one less prop. We still haven’t decided on a lot of these but this was a good start.

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Rehearsed it reading through the lines and thinking of the blocking a bit more we noticed that the door at the end of the scene was slightly awkward to mime so we decided to have it out of the stage. Then the chairs were a bit of a problem because we weren’t sure on how to set them, then the awkward lines because we weren’t sure on how to say them. Thankfully we had a session with Erica where in the end the decisions that we made, made me want to actually start learning the lines for this and rehearse it properly. We decided that we’d use two chairs instead of a sofa to represent armchairs and separate them further apart. That will give the feeling of separation and that there no longer is that connection between them which will also relate to the artwork a lot. The ending is now a part that I absolutely love because of the decision that Nora leaves through the theatre doors instead of going off stage. This will definitely surprise some people in the audience as they won’t be expecting it – AS WELL as the feeling of leaving is much stronger like this, you’re not only exiting the scene, the act, the play but you’re exiting the theatre.

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The next rehearsal we thought that we could relate the door that Nora leaves through at the end with the door that Helmer locks at the beginning. With this we thought about actually locking the theatre door but had to check with the tutors because of health and safety and what was decided is that as long as I locked it and unlocked it, pretending that I was locking it twice then it was fine. This was the first time we rehearsed with the two chairs being more apart, that was helpful and interesting as it also made me want to speak up a bit, which is also great because the louder I speak the better people can hear me. We were however having a lot of difficulties getting our characters right though, which didn’t come to me as much of a surprise because I hadn’t finished reading the play yet and hadn’t watched clips from the play being played out either. We decided to do our research for our next rehearsal and come back feeling more comfortable.

Once I finished reading the play I also watched these videos to see how other people played these characters:

 

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This was the day of the presentations in which everyone explained what they were doing to get a feel for the show and in which direction it’s going. Here’s the one for “A Doll’s House”:

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During the Easter Holidays we realised the script was too long and decided to cut it. It was hard to because we didn’t want to lose any important character development throughout the script and the story still needed to make sense. The more we cut the more I felt that the people would lose from our characters because so many of the phrases that demean Nora are important in my opinion. We cut about 3-4 minutes in the end I think and ended up with a 7 minute performance, which is still long but at least it’s shorter.

Further rehearsals

Erica wanted to see the whole show ran as it is not only to see how far everyone had gotten to but also to see if it all fits together nicely; whatever it is that people had done, was to be shown and recorded.

Unfortunately there was no recording of this for ‘A Doll’s House’ because I think the camera ran out of memory or something. We are progressing but there is a clear problem that we have and that is that the script is big and we’re not near enough to knowing our lines. Erica recommended that we cut it even more. We tried but we couldn’t cut more because it wouldn’t make sense otherwise and would lose too much character. Instead we cut, but we only cut small parts that would make the script run more smoothly. Also the reason things felt clunky was that Mia kept getting up whenever I did, which just wasn’t right because she kept repeating the motion of leaving too much. So from then on we tried it with her sitting for longer.

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We had time to do anything we had to do during one lesson. I ran ‘A Doll’s House’ with Mia, this time we tried running it without any script.

Of course we kind of failed but I do know most of my lines and I’m confident with my big monologue at the start so I’m not worried about that. What I’m most worried about is the character. It’s currently a bit too hard to bounce off of Mia’s character because I don’t feel like it’s real. I know that sounds a bit harsh but she keeps screaming every sentence when I’m expecting her to just be a bit more cold about it, however it’s not an actor’s place to give notes so I will hope that the tutor will help direct us in a more comfortable position when we show her what we’re doing.

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After seeing Erica we both felt much more comfortable with the piece. There were a few redirections and a few moments that got built to be a bit stronger which just helped find the feeling for the piece in general. I was suggested to take off a scarf at the beginning of my monologue so that I can be doing something and that the piece has a more distinctive start. I agree, but instead of a scarf which I don’t think fits the character I’ll be taking off my jacket. I could finally run the piece with her and not feel completely awkward reacting to what she’s doing because I now understand that I also need to be much more of a presence than just demeaning her with words.

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Producer’s run:

“Both off script although KV checked at one point; does MH need to stay seated throughout until the very end? How is she having her hair as she swings her head and she fiddles with the fringe? Good piece, intense.”

“Opening is not clear. Is Karolis talking to himself or her offstage? Both need to raise their game and go for it more. Karolis needs to be more dominant and Mia needs to fight and be stronger; a Battle it Out onstage. More emotionally connected. They know it now, so go for it. Feels too long in respect to the rest and I think could be cut down and still work. They need to play the climax, they throw it away.”

It is a long and boring piece in my opinion, I usually am more inclined towards comedy and that’s probably why this seems boring to me. It’s a much different feeling that I need to act compared to previous things I’ve done. I agree, we throw it away a bit but I’m scared of the dramatic pauses because the piece is already long and I don’t want it to be even longer. Though we do need to be more aggressive too, so we’ll attempt that.

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Our final proper rehearsal before the tech rehearsal which we casually just ran through the piece without looking at the script at all. That was relieving because I was worried I would never get this huge script down. Then I actually realised that we needed rings and keys as props for the performance. And here I thought I didn’t need any props at all in either performance, I was wrong. Although the rings are part of costume. Mia bought two rings but the one that was for me was too small so instead I asked to borrow Liam’s ring which was silver instead of the gold coloured one that Mia had. Which is alright, I’m pretty sure no one would pay much attention to that, there is nothing wrong with the husband having a different ring from her wife.

TECH

This is what I wore for the dress rehearsal, and the show:

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This outfit is so much closer to what I wanted ideally than my other piece. I think I also look quite menacing and authoritative. The only thing I would have changed if I could was to get a slightly bigger jacket because to take this jacket off was a bit difficult without making it comical.

DRESS

DRESS #2

 

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