We started again yesterday after a luxurious and much-needed two days off. Our bodies and brains needed it – some time to rest and gain a little perspective on all that we have been immersed in. Over the two days people did different things with their time.
Along with the mandatory laundry, food shopping, errands, etc. that had to be taken care of, people escaped to different locations with their significant others, went swimming and laid on the beach, and had some delicious meals. Darron and Leon accompanied by Akiko and Michelle (who is able to be out here with us which is fabulous!) flew kites on the beach. Leon had a big smile and a wicked sunburn to show for it when we reconvened. I borrowed a bike from a friend – an old beach cruiser – filled up the tires and took a long bike ride along the beach, one of my favorite things to do.
On Sunday night, a number of us in the cast went down with Darron to South Coast Rep to see Tom perform in the Tempest, which Darron had sound designed. With magic by Teller, music by Tom Waits, movement by Matt Kent of Pilobolus, a stellar cast and Tom as Prospero it was a fabulous evening in the theatre. Tom and Darron’s work was wide open and gorgeous, to be sure. Personally, it reminded me of what a lucky and strange life I lead in the theatre. Amazing to think of our company doing our Persians with its roots in the birth of western theatre (but in suits!) and to see Tom and D’s Tempest (written in 1610?) which is shaped in this instance by a more vaudevillian or dustbowl quality and that they actually share many things in common. Actors with the help of outside eyes channeling something and attempting to tell a story.
Of course, a bi-product of getting some time off and resting is that there was the inevitable “rust” factor. We did some walking and some basics and I focused our speaking on the beginning of the show – the 2 stanzas of ancient Greek and the first stanza of our text in english. Speaking it felt jagged and challenging – like taking out that bike I rode after it having not been used in a while.
After VP we did some vocal exercises and then went to get notes and rehearse outside. After our dinner break we worked through a few more specials and then got into costume. It was once again an invited dress rehearsal before our press opening today and then public opening tomorrow. We performed for a small group of around 50 people including many of Anne’s directing students who had flown out to have class and see the show.
After we performed, many of us agreed it felt like a jagged show and kind of off. Darron disagreed – he said it was relaxed and open in a really good way. It’s so hard to calibrate this show still, to find that perfect balance between precise but too tight, open but too loose. Maybe that is what people are watching us as a chorus navigate in the moment and, if so, I hope it is interesting to watch.
So on to press opening tonight. We have made something and some of the world is coming to see it. I am excited and nervous to hear what they have to say about what they see and hear from our production of Persians.