Emily Spalding’s Persian’s Journal post for July 30 2014.

Aug 01, 2014

Greetings to all from the Oakwood Marina Del Rey!

While I have lived in LA for several years now, my move to the west side last Sunday felt like a big one…a significant and scary and exciting moment…the kind I’d like to freeze in time and keep in a jar. Who knew a forty minute slog through LA traffic could be so arresting? 

The past week and a half has felt mostly like a dream. As has been described by my castmates in previous entries, going to rehearsal everyday at the Getty Villa is nothing short of glorious.  We show up…minds full of ancient language, of harmonies and dissonance, of questions and proposed solutions…of coffee. And, we’re off! Hours turn to minutes…days this full pass quickly. And, as in a dream, I end up somehow back where I began the day… in my funny room at this funky place…my mind and heart filled to the brim with gratitude.

Today began (as I wish all days could) in conversation with Shelby. Anne and others shared some brief reflections on yesterday’s tour of the Byzantium exhibit and the manner in which the past informs the present in matters of belief, shape, symbol etc. Transference of power from artist to object to audience and through time…so compelling. But, the clock ticks fast in these parts and our time at the table with Shelby is precious so it’s back to the play we go.

We start in with the entrance of the messenger and, with little exception, we remain firmly in a discussion of that very moment of the play for three hours! I love this! The conversation centers around the function of the messenger in the play and in our production. Is the messenger’s speech divided among members of the chorus (passed off like a baton from one voice to the next?) And if so, what distinguishes the messenger from the chorus? And, more importantly, what is the value of that distinction?  We go back, over and over again…reading and re-reading the text…and we begin to see something emerge.  We begin to feel the over-powering need for an individual voice…an athletic,  complex, emotional undertaking for an actor. A singular storyteller. One voice in concert with many- changing the world. At least, that’s the thought today…

We train: Up & Down with heels together and again in open stance. Basic #1 and Basic #3 (continuing our work on the litany of names). Stomping and right into slow ten (one neutral pass and one with structure- speaking our newly learned stanzas of ancient Greek). A short open viewpoints session with an emphasis placed on entrances and speaking. We are learning that the opening text of the play is shared and that it’s aching now for structure.

After a costume fitting with Nephelie and Co. (and a glimpse into the amazingly generous and collaborative nature of their work on the costumes), I joined the group again for music and choreography rehearsal for the remainder of the afternoon.  Victor’s music is deceptively complex…rhymically and intellectually. With sheet music in hand and movement now in the works, we are unearthing big questions about the quality of sound and storytelling called for by the play. How can the form best support/challenge/convey the content and vice versa? The work is painstaking and collaborative as all get out. It’s thrilling.

Thank you to all for these unmatchable days, and sending my best to those near and far. 


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