Another Dawn Treader rehearsal today. I was tired when I arrived, and much more tired by the time we finished. It hadn’t helped that I’d stayed up watching The Red Shoes until 1.30 am, but even when I did go to bed I slept very fitfully, and felt as though I’d been more awake during the night than asleep.
I sometimes wonder if actors aren’t mostly introverts: they appear to be extroverts because they get up in front of people and perform, and they’re often quite noisy at social occasions. But in a rehearsal setting they swing widely from putting themselves on the line in terms of their part to looking like hurt children when the director chides them in some way. And as hurt children all that energy and life can fizzle away in a moment.
I said in an earlier post how each time you begin the rehearsal period for a play you have to overcome that feeling of inferiority in regard to the other actors (who are probably doing the same) and you have to build up a sufficient level of trust in each other to be able to do what can often be quite daft things – especially if your character is in any way ‘out there’.
Acting is a bit like a bloke wearing an engagement ring: being regarded as slightly odd goes with the territory.
Anyway, today at our rehearsal we used a different room. We’re rehearsing in the old King Edward Technical College building right in town (it’s now called King Edward Court) and have been using a large corner room in which the Dawn Treader ship fits (even if our heads virtually touch the ceiling when we’re standing on the poop deck, or where someone incautious can knock their head on a fluorescent lamp swinging from the ceiling). Today we worked in an even larger room, full of sunlight, some carpet around the perimeter (which reduced the level of echo - the other room is very echoey), and a general feeling of plenty of space. We were working on scenes that don’t require the ship, and discovered that nearly all these scenes were ones we’d done two to three weeks ago, and hadn’t really worked on since to the extent that we felt at home in them. So the afternoon was a series of disappointments not only for the director, as she saw all her hard work seeming to crumble, but for the actors, who probably mostly felt as dispirited as I did, because we seemed to be forgetting lines and moves left, right and centre. We came away feeling as though we’d all been sacked from the wine of the month club.
However, now that we’ve got ourselves back into these scenes, we’ll hopefully cement them into our psyches a bit more, and the next time we come back to them, things might be a bit more cheerful!
The photo is of the Stuart St frontage of KE Court; it's a vast building that extends over a good deal of the block.