Unmasking The Malcontent: v. V

We performed our first full run-throughs of the play this weekend for the benefit of the Artistic Director and Designers of the show. I don’t think I’ll be the only one of us to say putting all the bits and pieces into sequence again was just a touch frightening. Actually, “abject terror” would be the proper term.

Elizabeth Swain directs a scene

Since the first week of blocking rehearsals with the Circle Game, we’ve been taking the show to pieces and working it scene by scene; working in such tight focus, you sort of lose sight of the big picture. Putting it all back together again to see if it worked was a leap of faith, but I’m happy to say that (not without much rifling of scripts and close examination of the posted scene order) it works indeed. Better than that, we got to step back and take a look at the grand scheme of the play, and it’s not nearly so terrifying now as it was at the first reading. These next couple of days, we’re opening it back up and fine-tuning, and then next week we begin tech rehearsals, and the week after, we open.

When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound like much time at all.

Mark Doerr helps Laura Wernette with her rehearsal corset.

And on that subject, we’ve had some news about our performance schedule from our Artistic Director, Jeanie Hackett. In standard practice, Antaeus casts two actors in each role, both of whom attend rehearsals and work with different combinations of actors throughout the process. During tech week, the actors are sorted out into two teams which remain fairly immutable throughout the run of the play (exceptions being when your counterpart is not able to make a performance with their cast, etc). That’s the arrangement we’ll be sticking to for the Saturday and Sunday performances, but the new and exciting element is that Thursday and Friday shows will now be performed by a mixture of both casts, a random assortment of actors that will be different each night.

I hope you think that’s awesome: I do. I’m just not looking forward to saying goodbye to half of the cast for the next month and a half; they’re too much fun. Secondly (and perhaps not entirely honorably), I’m just a wee bit competitive. Therefore, the idea of another group of actors interpreting the material in ways I’ll never get to play with does not please. Thirdly, there’s going to be an element of danger in these shows; as if performing weren’t enough of an adrenaline rush already, you don’t know quite what the other team has been up to, and you’re going to surprise each other when you get out on that stage. You have to stay active and open to keep up with each other. It will be intense.

A2 Ensemble Member, Abby Wilde, continues to share her experiences working on our production of The Malcontent . This is the fifth installment. For tickets, visit www.antaeus.org

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