Report: Performances in the park

After one last runthrough on Saturday morning, we hammered our way through it at 3:00 pm before a crowd of about 30. Although the final scene was dicey, we finally made it through the whole show without stopping.

Again on Sunday, much more relaxed this time, we performed before a crowd of 30-40.

As usual with these kinds of things, there were high points for each performance as well as low points. Meh, it’s live theatre.

Post mortem in comments, and we need to begin discussion of how we’re going to adapt this roving production to a proscenium space.

Report: 10/18/08

Missed reports for last week’s extra rehearsals

Present: Dale, Marc, Jeff B, John, Greg, Dan

Our goal was to run the show. We did not succeed, although we made it to the end of IV.5 (the Aufidius scene) before we stopped. We think the remainder of the show should take us no more than 30 more minutes. That means that the show is probably going to run about three hours, which is OK.

It was agreed that we really need to run the show every day next week, despite not everyone being able to be at every rehearsal.

Schedule for next week:

  • Monday: 6:00, in the park
  • Tuesday: 6:00, at Dale’s house (There’s a big thing in the park that evening.)
  • Wednesday: 6:00, in the park
  • Thursday: 6:00, in the park
  • Friday: 6:00, in the park
  • Saturday: 9:00 am, in the park
  • PERFORMANCE: SATURDAY, 3:00. Plan to be there at 2:00 to set up. The publicity promises a chat with curious audience members at 2:30, but you don’t have to be a part of that. Dale and Marc will be the front men for that; if you want to play, dive in.

We will run the show every night.

NO BOOKS ON STAGE starting Monday night. Call for line if you need it. Be planning where you need to end up and where poles, chairs, et al., need to be.

Report, 10/11/08

Present: Dale, Marc, Greg, Dan, John, Jeff B

We worked through Act III twice, and it’s shaping up to be the exciting political thriller we’ve been telling people it is. It all boils down to having one’s lines memorized, doesn’t it?

Michael Dean, our Martius Jr, came to watch. He played young Patrick in Auntie Mame back in the production that actually gave Lacuna its start. He’s now a freshman in high school and will be with us next Saturday to do his one line.

Here are the cuts and assignments we made today:

  • III.1: Jeff A, play all Senators, Patricians, etc.; Scott, play People/Plebians/Citizens; Dale will play the Aedile
  • III.1: CUT lines 246-253
  • III.2: Jeff A, play Senator
  • III.3: Dale plays the Aedile; Jeff A, Scott, play plebeians/people
  • III.3: CUT from COMINIUS: Hear me, my masters… to ALL: It shall be so!
  • IV.1: CUT
  • IV.3: CUT
  • IV.5: Scott, play the THIRD SERVINGMAN
  • IV.5: plan on condensing the ending “comedy” scene
  • IV.6: Who’s playing the messengers in the “café scene”?
  • V.4: CUT
  • V.5: Scott, play SENATOR
  • V.6: Scott, play SECOND LORD

We’re stepping up our schedule these last two weeks:

  • Monday, October 13: 6:30!!!!, in the park, Acts IV and V.
  • Tuesday, October 14, 6:30, in the park, whatever we decide on Monday night, but I’m thinking we need to run Acts I & II.
  • Wednesday, October 15, 7:00, dance studio, “Menenius Night,” i.e., all of Menenius’ scenes

Report, 10/8/08

Present: Dale, Marc, Jeff B, Jeff A, Greg, Dan, John, Scott, Kevin

Back in the park. We worked for over an hour on the Battle Ballet, aka I.4, and by heavens we got it! We will now need to run this at least once a rehearsal in order to keep it in our heads.

We decamped to the Newnan School of Dance’s new digs downtown and worked Act II, since Jeff B had to go home and we needed him for Act III and Kevin and Dan had missed last Saturday’s work on II.

GENERAL ASSESSMENT: We are at the point where we all have to be off book within the next week. This show goes up in two weeks. It is also time for us to discuss a heavier rehearsal schedule during the week. Be thinking how you can make that work.

NEXT: Saturday, in the park, Act III.

Report, 10/4/08

Present: Dale, Marc, Greg, John, Scott, Jeff B

We met in the park and worked on Act II. It’s so short that we ran it twice. No real problems to solve: the play’s action is wound up and set loose in this act, so the whole thing moves along quickly.

NEXT: On Wednesday, we will learn the Battle Ballet, and start on Act III. Place TBA. Watch this space.

Report, 10/1/08

Present: Dale, Marc, John, Jeff A., Jeff B., Kevin, Greg, Dan, Scott

We began running Act I in Dale’s back yard. We made it through scene 1 one and a half times before decamping to NCTC’s lobby, courtesy of Jeff A. Dale never thought that the sun set at 7:30 when he offered his back yard. (Saturdays will be fine, since it’s daylight.)

We worked on getting more crowd-ness into the scene.

I.2 and I.3 moved very smoothly, very short and well-played.

We ran I.4 a couple of times, finally agreeing that we would work the Battle Ballet next Wednesday when everyone could be there. We will devote the time to learning it and making it work. We ran a facsimile with Dan and Dale fluffing their way through it while Jeff gave his speeches front and center, shifting to the defeated Romans when he could. Marc watched it from out front and says it works.

I.5, short and sweet, and then we decided to cut 1.6 and 1.7, heading straight into the Grudge Match in 1.8. Again, we have to (have to!) get the fight choreographed. Dale will work on this over the weekend.

1.9 is very stodgy, but will probably prove more interesting after everyone starts to learn lines.

1.10, short and sweet.

NEXT: We will meet on Saturday at the park, 10:00, to work through Act II.

Report, 9/26/08

Present: Marc, Dale, John David, Jeff A., Dan, Greg, Jeff B.

Welcome, John David Bilon as Cominius!

We met in the Greenville Street Park to work through Act V. Surrounded by two separate weddings and the Obama campaign, we were unmolested.

Still unsure about V.1 and V.2, we staged them anyway. Kevin, we have cut all the business with the guards. The scene now starts with your silent approach to the camp, then CORIOLANUS: Now what’s the matter? MENENIUS cuts the opening bit of that big speech, starting with the the [to Coriolanus]: The glorious gods… and ending with … The good gods assuage thy wrath. Then, after AUFIDIUS: You keep a constant temper, the guards escort you silently away, and we continue straight into V.3.

We did not do V.4, since Kevin and Greg were not there, nor V.5, since it’s just a parade. However, someone needs to do the MESSENGERs in V.4; Scott and Andrew, take those. Also, John David, take the SENATOR in V.5.

We worked a lot on V.6, the final scene, just because it was so much fun and because it’s so important. It’s going to be very important to keep the crowd noises going during the fight and during Coriolanus’s death slump. Perhaps one of the Conspirators needs to come pull Aufidius up from Coriolanus’s body to bring him back to the business at hand?

We went back to the beginning of the play and tried to walk through the scenes to see how and where we would stage them now that we had a better feeling of the space. Act I remains as we planned, on the raised platform and the sidewalk, and then starting with II and III we begin moving down the middle of the greensward to the other side of the amphitheatre, ending at the seating area for most of IV and V.

We will give the audience a ten-minute break after III.3, the banishment scene, cut IV.1 [goodbye at the gates], and pick up with IV.2 [Volumnia chews her some tribune ass] after the break.

We bogged down again at the Battle Ballet, aka I.4.

NEXT: Wednesday, we will meet in Dale’s back yard. Let’s focus on Act I.

Scott Stroud, Dale needs your email.

Report, 9/24/08

Present: Dale, Marc, Greg, Dan, Kevin, Jeff A., Jeff B., Scott

First, welcome aboard to Jeff Allen, who’s been busy directing The Odd Couple at NCTC, and to Scott Stroud, who found out what we were up to and joyfully signed on.

Second, tonight was our last night at the dance studio. We’ll be working at the Park on Saturday and in Dale’s back yard thereafter.

We worked through Act IV. Scene 1 covers Coriolanus’s fond farewells to his family and friends. Blocking problems abound, although those may vanish after we discover new ways of dealing with the space in the Park.

Scene 2 is a lot of fun, with Volumnia giving the tribunes a piece of her mind.

We’ve cut Scene 3; it’s useless. Scene 4 is short and sweet.

And then there’s Scene 5. The servants are comic; we will have to work on props and the physical comedy. Dale and Jeff enjoy themselves a little too much during Aufidius’s speech.

Scene 6 is the “café scene,” in which the self-congratulatory tribunes and Menenius are stunned to find that Martius has turned against Rome. It worked the best of the scenes tonight, possible because we had worked it over extensively before.

Scene 7 is nice and short, just Aufidius musing over his boyfriend’s hubris.

We then had an inconclusive discussion over Dale’s suggestion to cut V.1 and V.2. Many suggestions: start V.1 halfway through; cut V.1 but leave V.2; cut a lot of the Monty Python guards in V.2; cut the end of Aufidius’s speech in IV.7 and segue straight into V.3.

Problems with all the approaches, of course. Best would be to leave the scenes in, but the general feeling is that we need to cut something in order to get the play down to two and a half hours. Discussion was tabled.

After everyone else left, Dale, Marc, and Jeff A. went back to I.3 and gave it a whirl. Totally workable.

Report, 9/20/08

Present: Dale, Marc, Jeff B, Dan, Kevin, Greg

We worked through Act III. Scene 1 is huge, starting with more “wish Aufidius was here” talk from Coriolanus, and kicking in swiftly with the Tribunes’ blocking of his path to the consulship. The violence escalates as Coriolanus just won’t shut up, until we have a riot. Jeff worked on all the arguments against letting the people have a voice in the government, getting them to be clear and pointed. We all worked on trying to keep the tension of the political nightmare high.

Scene 2 is actually fairly comic in that we see Volumnia in full sail, grinding her son down until he agrees to knuckle under and apologize to the Tribnues. Marc had her practically spitting blood.

We worked the opening of scene 3 a couple of times, getting the Tribunes more and more scheming. We also found a nice moment in the scene where it looks as if it all has been settled, and then Coriolanus once again throws the whole city into chaos when he won’t let things go.

We began the rehearsal with a workthrough of the Battle Ballet, catching Kevin up to speed on the second, more tricky half. Then we had a deep discussion, okay, it was an argument, when Jeff rejected the stylized, Taymoresque BB, wanting something more realistic to respond to. Dale’s argument for the BB was that we couldn’t do anything realistic, especially to the extended “voiceover” of Cor’s description of the battle, and that the BB actually drew time out for the speeches, plus echoed the warrior opening.

Finally we had Jeff do the speech while we did the BB, then again trying something more “realistic.” No one was convinced either way. We tabled it for further development after Kevin suggested a third way, still stylized but not as flamboyant as the BB: the Romans line up, center, facing up, while the Volscians enter from their gates and face them in a line. Choreography to be determined.

Report: 9/17/08

Present: Dale, Marc, Greg, Dan, Jeff B.

We worked through Act II, which is the kickoff of the actual plot.

In II.1, the return of Coriolanus, we got some more mileage out of the Tribunes and Menenius. (Kevin, we’re thoroughly exploring your character while you’re away. You can just mindmeld with Dale.) We have to find a Cominius to replace Philip. John, if you’re reading this, be looking at the role.

We had previously worked the end of the scene with the Tribunes, and it showed. The subtleties of their deviousness began to develop.

In II.2, which seems to be a very formal kind of “let’s praise him and make him consul” scene, we found a lot of informality by relating the procedure to the Good Old Boy system in place around here, i.e., they are not seriously presenting and considering his consulship; they’ve already decided this at cocktail parties over hor d’oeuvres. This is just window dressing, which the Tribunes recognize. We see this mostly through Menenius’s insouciance about the matter. Coriolanus is just bein’ difficult.

We went over II.3 several times, exploring the Citizens. We’ve given them cracker accents, and it works. It pulls out the comedy and delineates their social status very quickly for the audience. Even their Monty Python overtones come across.

We didn’t get to the Battle Ballet, but we will on Saturday. We will also tackle Act III.