As I mentioned in my post on Friday, I’ve recently experienced something unusual with my post-production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. We had rehearsals between performance weekends–this is almost unheard of in the theater world because there is truly something as being over-rehearsed. Words, especially in a Chekhov loosely based show, are extremely important. Every scene is heavy and full with words–verbose is an understatement.
A lot of directors focus on the relationships between actors during auditions and do take into account their prior and related experience when necessary. In some shows, directors can decide that past experience is less necessary for specific roles because it may not be relevant to the part the actor wishes to be cast in. For instance, you can have been a Shakespearean semi-professional actor your entire theatre career, but would this translate as being capable to portray a character in a Gilbert & Sullivan production? Perhaps, but not always.
For any show you have to have faith in your actors and their abilities to memorize lines (a lot of lines), blocking, others lines and blocking, and costume/scene/prop changes. But for this show, in particular, (and in my own opinion) you really had to have faith in the actors ability to support themselves and one another. There are pages worth of monologues for the three leads and a page or two worth of monologue for two of the three supporting actors. These monologues, only had a few moments where assistance could be provided, are done almost entirely done without support.
You’re it, baby. There’s no help for you on stage. What do you do?
You continue to practice. I have to say, when I first heard the director was going to do brush up rehearsals for the actors subbing in certain weekends, I was a bit shocked and appalled to be honest–these actors need an appropriate length of time to recover from a performance weekend, just a few days didn’t seem fair. I had to look at the show from a director lens versus my make-up artist lens. While experiencing this show, which was a first of its kind for me, I changed my mind.
Now, there’s no way to test scientifically but I honestly think a show of this nature with it’s heavy back and forth’s and length monologues needs to have rehearsals between performances. You have to keep the actors fresh and on their toes, you never know where somewhere will have a stroke on stage and they need to be prepared to pick up the ball whenever and wherever it drops. And, hopefully, it doesn’t roll off stage and into the audience. ‘Til next time.