Rehearsal: Day 12
10th June, 2019
A big gathering –– with tea and biscuits at the end
What a buzz! –– sixteen actors in various shades of red, pink and orange, four designers with questions for the actors, Len representing SDG and a guest photographer.
It was slightly hectic, with costumes being displayed, put on and tried out; some actors arriving without any red clothing and having to borrow, others arriving in full regalia: layers of clothes, shoes, boots, hats, scarves.
From the very beginning the atmosphere was different, the colour bringing such brightness to the room.
The feedback afterwards was that it seemed the colour on everybody was too similar at the beginning, yet when the entire Troupe paraded through the room and created group images, it looked splendid –– the status of the characters become even more apparent now that they had another means to define them; seeing them from outside so clearly and so physically.
The actors moved into the warm-up, said hello to everyone, the designers mostly observed from a distance, though one joined the physical work.
The photographer itched to start recording what she was seeing, but she had to hold off until the group had relaxed into the evening.
The warm-up focused on the body and moving, feeling the newness of the costumes, how it altered the way each person moved and felt.
As the early part of the warm-up ended, I asked the actors to move into pairs, (the only pair I specifically organised were the two Salieris) and they began the mirror exercise, then moving quickly into working together side by side, still mirroring. In working with the Salieris separately, I became aware of the requirement for them to have a distinct and similar body movement, so this exercise was particularly for them.
Plus, I had a desire to try this exercise for another time, when I had been slightly fazed by the outcome of the first attempt last week (see The Amadeus Project: Day 11).
And then, with eyes closed, the entire group, in their pairs, moved into feeling the hand of their partner for the small details. For me (unusually I took part in this exercise too as we were a person short and I didn’t wish to create a tripartite relationship), this experience meant awareness: of the softer, fleshy bits of my partner’s hands; the hard skin on a well-used thumb, the dry hand and well-clipped nails of a person used to working with those hands.
I popped out of the exercise to observe the others, and although early in the evening’s work, the intention already there between those pairs was beautiful, respectful, delicate.
Finally, the photorapher’s moment arrived as the characters paraded, one following the other around the room, then flocked together, then created an image together. The newness brought an edge to the night and new observers always brings an added slight tension .
‘Holding’ the night became my priority, retaining an element of cohesiveness and focus while, with flexibility, embracing the excitement and the results that might bring, the extra awareness and playfulness that gives another ‘in’ to the work of the play.
And trying to be aware of the demands on everybody –– their sensitivities and vulnerabilities as we aim to be open and receptive.
With the designers in place in their respective corners, the actors moved as their characters though the room, the exploration of the small details of these characters still our aim. Again, using the familiar instructions, we sought further knowledge and insight into these people.
In four corners, the designers had placed themselves where the actors could speak to them and respond to the planned questions that they asked.
Still, the majority continued to work, with sounds of the chatting and laughing around the edges. Little by little, each actor completed the round of questioning.
… with photos …
By this stage the photographer was in full flight. Actors were photographed in portrait initially, which was the plan, but her eye was drawn to the way they behaved when walking and undertaking their instructed tasks.
So, the posing began –– actors having their own, not-so-private, studio session with the beguiling photographer; arms raised, head positioned. I haven’t had the opportunity to ask whether she asked them to create the poses or if she was just responding to the actors’ will and improvisation.
All of the cast photos in this blog post were taken by Orla Lavelle.
… with questions (specified below) …
So too with the questions asked, there was a conversation that developed with the question being asked by the designers to the actors who popped out of the walk to chat; plenty discussion happening on the topics, or so it seemed.
I am just realising that we could have had a great feedback session later on this aspect but our feedback took a different tack and we concentrated only on the replies to the questions, which were fascinating and utterly revealing in themselves.
Perhaps some of the actors and designers might provide feedback of their experience here … that would be fab!
I’m also realising how much I missed by not being the one to ask the questions and how demanding the night was in the ‘holding’ I’ve mentioned above.
But, this work will feed into the characters and the flavour and richness of the work so I’m not really missing out, just my nosiness to know and relish every single little detail!
Tea and biscuits …
And a big circle of people, reading through the questions and the answers.
Some of the items were explained further … such as:
Venticello 1 –– has a key in his pocket for Salieri’s house –– access to the heart of the story!
Salieri the elder –– her theme song: ‘I Don’t Know What to do with Myself’.
von Strack’s –– the item in his pocket was a die, feeling the edges always, to remind him to be aware and alert.
Opera Singer –– her name is Violetta.
Teresa Salieri –– her greatest fear has happened, she has been publicly humiliated by her Husband.
Constanza –- her greatest fear is to be alone.
Emperor Joseph –– his / her item a lace handkerchief, as she / he is constantly sniffling and trying to remove the smell of the masses from his / her nose.
Orsini Rosenberg –– has shoes that are exactly the same as the actor’s imagery slippers would be, ornate fabric in red and gold.
Salieri the younger –– has sweets and money in his pocket for the Venticelli.
Mozart’s –– theme music is ‘Everything You Come To Expect’ by The Shadow Puppets.
Venticello 2 –– wears the very latest in modern fashion footwear.
Cook –– recipes and honey are in her pocket.
Priest –– wears old sandals hand-made from types.
Venticello follower –– called Giovanni, and considers ‘Tilted’ by Christine & The Queens as his theme song.
Valet –– sees ‘Bitches Brew’ by Miles Davies as his theme song.
Singer –– doesn’t have a name yet and wears military-style combat boots ––strong and ‘kick-ass’.
To finish …
The result?: fun, laughter, surprise, clarity … and, best of all, coming together and communicating in a different, relaxed way with a cuppa, dipped with chocolate digestives.
The possibility of working on the characters by writing arose, as one of the cast is dong every morning. Lovely idea!
Further rehearsal later this week with the Salieris, Mozart and Constanza, but people beginning to drift away for the summer. Some actors are wanting to have a ‘holding’ session, to facilitate continuity during the next few quieter weeks. To be discussed again …
Email to the Amadeus Troupe: 22nd June 2019
Hi Amadeus Troupe,