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Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Passion: Week Two and a Bit...

The second week, where the second half is blocked and we start going over ground we've been over before.  It was a tough week, where the hot weather took some toll on the endurance of the company.  Despite the swelter the shape of the show is looking great and set us up for week three (which is going really well so far!) and the adding of layers to the show.  More on layers in the future.

Tuesday 22nd May 2012.  7.30pm.  The Jetty.  Act Two - first half.

Jesus is brought before Herod, the attractive chap seated
It was a limited call for this rehearsal, only the main speaking parts rather than the whole company.  It was a chance to go over these scenes in relative textual detail, rather than focusing on where the ensemble is standing.  Even so, it was a bit of a struggle to get through the whole section by the end of the rehearsal, it's a knotty bit of text.  The first half of Act Two is all about the struggle to get Jesus arraigned - and for the priests Annas and Caiaphas it is a struggle.  Jesus goes from them, to Pilate, who sends them on to Herod (a cameo part for yours truly), who sends them back to Pilate who finally has Jesus condemned.  By the end Annas and Caiaphas are palpably desperate to get their way, in a blackly comic way, which contrasts with the quiet dignity of Jesus who has a number of ordeals to go through.  Next time we cover this section we'll add the chorus, which ups the stakes in the scenes and adds more impact for the audience.

Thursday 24th May 2012.  7.30pm.  The Jetty.  Act Two - second half.

Placing the crown of thorns - just prior to the Road to Calvary
The second half of Act Two is a bigger, ensemble based part of the show.  We actually started the rehearsal with an earlier section - the Road to Calvary - and then, skipping the crucifixion again, moved onto the close of the show.  It's made of a number of short scenes following the crucifixion - starting with the death of Jesus - which is performed as a communal act, the whole company standing and bearing witness - and ending with his resurrection - which brings most of the cast onstage at the end in what looks suspiciously like a proto curtain call.  You'd almost think I planned it that way.

Friday 25th May 2012.  10am.  The Auditorium.  Get in - part one.

It's a little early to get in a show - some six and a bit weeks prior to first night - but we had a good reason (and permission) to add something to the Quay stage early.  These were two bits of wood which are to guide the cross (to be made of two ladders) up the back wall of the stage.  It took a bit longer to do than Keith (our stage manager) and I planned, primarily as we lacked rawle plugs and had to pop out to get some.  I hope our budget will stretch to such extreme spending.

Sunday 27th May 2012.  11am.  The Auditorium.  The Crucifixion.

Note the two bits of wood, top.
This was our second crucifixion rehearsal - but the first with the prototype cross (i.e. two ladders lashed together) and the first with all four soldiers at the rehearsal.  You've probably seen the footage I've posted (see earlier blog) of rehearsals so far, but I also record scenes for those who miss rehearsal (and for myself to transcribe blocking into the prompt script) and the absentee from last weeks rehearsal (victim of a dodgy curry) had a chance in advance to watch a run of the scene with the blocking.
This rehearsal was split into two parts - the running of the words and basic actions (complete with a coned off safety cordon and high visibly jackets for the workers) and then the physical work of raising the cross.  This involved a lot of discussion, practice, debate and general mulling over the practical problem of getting something from the horizontal to the vertical. We came up with a number of proposals as to the final lifting, to be put in place for the next dedicated crucifixion rehearsal in a fortnights time, for which the finished cross will be ready.

Tuesday 29th May 2012.  7.30pm.  The Jetty.  Act One - first half, again.

Back to the beginning again - well nearly.  God wasn't available for today's rehearsal so we skipped the first page and went straight onto the Angel Gabriel.  This rehearsal was about two things - consolidation of blocking, lines, actions (the nuts and bolts), to see how much everyone remembered from the first rehearsal.  It was also about the playing around with back projection - or more properly, Over Head Projection OHP.  And, whilst the effects were only prototypes and used cut up serial boxes and other basic tools, they came out rather well for a first attempt.  The only exception to this was the prototype dove puppet, which was too geometrical and so looked more like a bat from popular horror fiction - rendering a powerful moment at the baptism into a desperate struggle by John the Baptist to escape being attacked by Count Dracula.  Happily this was just to rehearse the basic principle, so that I can go away and make a proper puppet.  I was surprised it survived the rehearsal - the last rehearsal puppet I made kept being ripped apart.  (It was the child in The Caucasian Chalk Circle, which is placed in a circle and used as a tug of war between parents, the 'true' parent letting go and thus proving her worth.  Sadly child puppet had its arms torn off on three separate occasions before I took the hint and embedded them with steel cable for the final show version.)

Well, that's us up to date with rehearsals - more to come soon as the adventure continues.  More rehearsal snaps below - in no particular order.

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