Yesterday we had our very first “real” rehearsal as Sean called it. It was rehearsal #4, but it was our first blocking rehearsal. For those of you not familiar with theater, blocking is when you actually get on stage and plot out the movements in each scene. This is the first feel you get of actually performing.
Our first 2 rehearsals were read-throughs. True to the name, we read through the play and discussed plot points and important scenes. The third rehearsal was an informal rehearsal where we had a very passionate and in-depth discussion as a cast about our characters and their relationships. And somewhere along the line this happened:
We don’t get that crazy every rehearsal, but so far this experience has been the most in-depth, the most thought through performance I’ve ever done. This is what I hope every performance will be from now on. By delving into your character’s personality, their relationships, their journey from beginning to end, you shape your portrayal of them. Suddenly, a character created in the 16th or 17th century becomes relatable . That’s one of the beauties of Shakespeare. Hamlet may have been a prince from the renaissance period, but when it all boils down, he’s a college guy who’s trying to deal with his dad’s death and his mother’s remarriage. He’s suddenly part of a broken home, trying to get over the first close death in his life.
This cast is fabulous as well. After trying our scene for the first time, George, who’s playing Laertes (Ophelia’s brother), and I went to the lobby and worked it over separately. We brainstormed and mapped out movements and actions until we had a completely refreshed scene for the second run through with the director. It was at least a 130 degree shift. Suddenly there were a brother and sister on stage, natural movements and reactions…in our first blocking rehearsal! I left thoroughly pumped up.
Now to get the scripts out of our hands…