On Sunday we bid farewell to our rehearsal hall, and yesterday began our technical rehearsals in the Loeb. The set is wonderful: the room looks cavernous and invokes that particularly English antique grandeur of high-vaulted wood paneling and leather, but by using levels and angles and furniture our designer, Michael Griggs, has created a variety of playing spaces within the grand room that allow for intimate and specific contact between actors. It’s very well done, and a pleasure to play on.
The first day of tech is always tough for me. There’s so much more input, so many new variables, that it becomes increasingly difficult to stay on action. Yesterday I felt like I was working in jello, like the air was jello around me and I had to sort of clear it away from my face before I could speak. Those days happen, of course; that’s why we don’t invite the audience to watch the first Tech! But I let it be a bit of a lost day, which is too bad. Back to it, with renewed concentration, today.
The first play I ever saw on this grand stage was Marcus Stern’s Woycek, with Tommy Derrah playing the lead. There were several good performances by Institute actors in that play, as well – one guy played a creature who was sort of half-horse half-monkey. I loved the play: I was shocked and thrilled and inspired and unnerved and not at all ready for it to be over when the darkness so unceremoniously fell. I’ve always wanted to work here. Now I must get over that excitement and expectation and settle into the task at hand.
Tommy says that acting is communication, and he is as right as anyone can be with a one-word synopsis. Yesterday I did not communicate. So, that’s the obvious goal for today. Re-discover my fellow actors, and make the play new every time. Revel in what is new, revel in what is challenging, revel in what is present, revel in what is scary; that’s where the good stuff is.
-henry david clarke