|Posted by "St Pauls Players" on October 16, 2012 at 9:50 AM|
The Continuing Saga of The Itinerant Thespianby William Antley on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 1:11am
·My third night and everyone elses fourth night of rehearsal for “Once Upon A Christmastime” has been successfully concluded. Sadly, I missed seeing my darling stage wife, Julie, this evening as she and my favorite little sister, Fan, were required to be present elsewhere. No worries dear wife and Lil‘ Sis, we will meet again soon.
Back to business now. What we did tonight was more of what was done last night, everybody singing their parts, going through their lines and learning the blocking. I was at a distinct disadvantage tonight since I had to miss Sunday’s rehearsal due to a commitment to my own choir. We’re preparing for our big Christmas presentation and first big rehearsal was then.. Paula, being the good sport and great director that she is, kindly allowed me the night off to attend my other rehearsal. I had a good rehearsal, learning lots of new music and finding out I need to work diligently in order to perform this cantata as well as I know I can. Same thing applies here too y’all!
Due diligence, attention to detail and sound dedication, not the audio work required people, the commitment part of dedication!
Hmmm, that’s a lot of Ds. Hah, this episode brought to you by the letter “D”. Delightful, Delovely, Dedicated, there’s that word again, Diligent, Difficult(mildly), Dandy, Lion,(just checking to see if you’re paying attention), Dilettante, Hmm that may not be a good “D” word here, Dulcet, that’s a good one, Delectable(more on that later) and probably several others that have yet to come to mind. It’s a bit late y’all, after midnight actually and I‘m winding down.
First part of rehearsal was a vocal warmup doing what was done last rehearsal, that I missed. No worries, vocal warmups are easy. A new warmup, well new to me since I wasn’t here yesterday, was provided where we sang the alphabet up and down a scale accelerating each repetition and moving up the scale. Our accompanist, Tracy Davenport Davis, suggested Paula use it as a competition during warmup where the junior members of the cast would compete with the adults to see who could do this exercise the fastest without skipping letters or falling out. I inserted one of my patented quirky, quantitative, questions about, drum roll please, would the competition be judged as a group effort or as an individual effort? And there, another episode brought to you by the letter “Q” this time. I wonder how many of those are going to pop up out of the fog that is my mind?
Paula also had us do an exercise based on PROJECTION of the voice. She separated us into two groups and sent one group to the opposite end of the auditorium keeping the other group at the stage. She selected phrases that could be broken into two parts and she had us say them powerfully with our BIG voices such that the group on the opposite side of the room could hear and understand us. My first thought was “Are you sure you want me to do this”? Everyone found out just how powerful my voice can be and how strongly I can project it. I grew up on a farm, for a little while, and talking to people on the other side of “the back 40” was a regular thing. We learned how to get our voices there.
Not really like that but it’s a good read, right? And I did live at my grandmother’s farm for a couple of years sloppin’ chickens and milkin’ hogs. Yeah I really did do this, got to ride horses occasionally too.
Back from the tangent now.
In the beginning I have minimal dialogue, basically where Scrooge’s nephew Fred comes to wish him a Merry Christmas. I get to perform my excellent Bob Cratchit at this time and I do do it quite well. I’ve got the accent, I know how to work the character and the blocking has been learned properly. One issue though, Mr. Scrooge stands only barely as tall as my shoulder, I’m towering over him! I’m once again the biggest man on the stage. Our narrator, John Arnold, is just as tall as I am but, I’ve got him on mass, I’m a BIG fella. You’ll see me, ya can’t miss! Anyway, I’m wondering how to present my character to Mr. Scrooge. I just draw inward as if Mr. Scrooge is the threat that he really is. And I want to request a day off to celebrate Christmas with my family, not lose my job and not anger my boss. Still, it’s kind of amusing seeing me standing there trying to portray someone who is mild mannered and meek when I’m twice the size of the person I am addressing. Still, I pull it off beautifully!
Next we work the song describing Ebenezer Scrooge and his passionate love affair with all things monetary. The man only thinks about money, his and how he can get more of everybody else’s.
Minor mishap this evening, in the first run through where I am to walk, in my mild mannered and meek styling, toward Mr. Scrooge and his nephew Fred, I fail to see one of the child actors sitting at my feet, my feet are bigger than he is, and…
…I step on him as I’m trying to maneuver into starting position. Fortunately I caught myself before I put too much podiatral pressure on him, his hand actually that he had maneuvered to be under my foot as it was coming down and there was no hope of stopping its descent, and I lifted off of him just as a slight OW was forming on his lips.
I seem to be plagued by the legions of junior actors and other children of the stage that insist on being right where I need to be but not realizing that at full speed, or any speed for that matter, I just don’t stop!
Once all that excitement is done, we continue working on the musical aspect of this musical. Did I just say that? Ooof.
Anyway, we go through songs that all of us will be singing and mostly it goes well. There’s still a few rough spots for some but, it’ll work out, that’s what rehearsal is for!
We get to singing my favorite song here, “God Bless Us Each And Everyone” and I work my voice seriously, improve on that soulful song of mourning I have for the loss of my son Tim. This song needs to be a total solo so badly it isn’t funny. Our musical director, Robin, told me the same thing!
We continue on to keep mastering our singing and it goes well, we got better as we went along. More rehearsal and we will shine!
Afterwards I speak with Paula for a bit and discuss my idea about making my favorite song into something more than what it is. I suggest I sing it as a total solo but, with my family providing a light ethereal keening underneath my voice, as the angel band mind you, and the remaining cast singing unison with me further under the family and I as just a shadow of my voice. Had an additional thought (Oh dear, he’s thinking! Run for the hills!) about during this episode where Ebenezer Scrooge is witnessing a Christmas future, he is off to one side of the stage by himself and illuminated by a single spot light directly overhead shining down to give him a skeletal or ghostly appearance. Quite dramatic but, I’m not directing this show. I’ll ask about this idea.
After we finish up rehearsal, this is where that “Delectable” comment comes into play, I baked a cake to celebrate John Henry’s Birthday. It must have been good, only a small piece came home with me.
Truth to tell, I have an ulterior motive for providing baked goods. I plan on always having a role at a theatre because everyone will insist that I bring some baked delectable delight to a show or party to have in celebration of anything or nothing, just because.
Well, it’s after 1:00 AM now, I’ve been writing for about an hour. Seems to be ample reading material here so, y’all enjoy and, don’t be afraid to leave a comment or several. Lets me know there’s people out there on the other side of my monitor screen. Good Night Y’all!