Just last night I was doing some investigation into the whens and whichones of the Marathon battle, and the Thermopolae battle, and the Salamis battle (Think of the new movie The 300). It’s really confusing for me to hold in mind, but one thing I did read about Marathon and about the current wars is that they probably happened on or around TODAY. Yes, some of the posited dates are August 5 and August 6. (Maybe that’s why my legs are so tired today.)
We began as usual with training on Tuesday. My encouragement was to empty out the training and not use it as rehearsal. Remember why you train, what you are concentrating on when you train, and do your personal work. Lately, and not for unhealthy reasons, the training vocabulary has meshed into experiments in staging as well. We didn’t even speak today. For viewpoints we did a 10 minute open session after which (as expected) Anne ran to the stage and said that she saw so much Persians in our improvisation. As she acknowledged, because she “has the Persians in her mind and is seeing through those eyes.” As happens when immersed in material one sees everything from that point of view — “when you’re hungry you see only donut shops everywhere” for example.
And we are HUNGRY.
We then broke into a conversation initiated by Ellen who, like a dog with a bone, was carrying on a conversation she, JEd, and I were having as we carpooled to work. Had to do as Stephen suggested in his last entry about Who we are? and What we are doing? Emily furthered the Why we (these particular people) would be doing this show at all? Good question.
Suggestions were made, nervous smiles exchanged, and the actors walked behind the sheer curtain. As Anne remarked after, she could see us standing back there, huddled, whispering, making a plan and reminded us that when she sees actors doing this, she knows the rehearsal is going well.
And we began — a new entrance, new shapes, new conversation in time, an improvised beginning with known land marks along the way, that segued to a version of our old beginning (we are following the ouji board and one another holding on tightly and letting go lightly, reading minds and the space at the same time as Darron jumps sonically into the pool). And now the Greek text pours out of us, of and for us, another ancient circle begins to move, and suddenly we are into the staging for Parados that we sketched out last week outdoors. It’s rough, it’s a suggestions, we are white knuckling our way through it, thrilled to not be stopped at every moment – this is what we do best – until we sing the first Stasimon and Ellen exits to prep for the entrance of the queen. We are bustling backstage with a train and the “head” sculpture Brian brought in today (among other oversized beautiful body parts) — when Anne finally stops us.
Anne said, “This was my favorite rehearsal EVERY!”
So, something broke open. What? We must follow one another through that door to find out, but the air was clearer, and the spirit was light, and one begins to feel that we caught a glimpse, finally, into OUR Persians.
Yes, it was hilarious as we are talking furiously after the improvisation to see suddenly the elevator door open and Anna Woo and Brian Scott are wheeling enormous broken body part sculptures onto the back stage. They are trying to be quiet and respectful of our working like little church mice but carrying ENORMOUS head, torso (“lower torso” if you know what I mean), leg and foot, arm. Hilarious. Nowhere to hide people.
It was then fantastic to end the day walking out of the rehearsal room into the sunlight and pass the stage where Brian and his crew have hung the entire facade of the museum with our sheer gold fabric. Brian is up on the balcony of the building tying off things and folding as the wind gently plays through the draping fabric. JEd, Ellen, and I happily snap photos while enthusiastically shouting up to Brian. Thank you!!! And climb back into the car to fight PCH traffic back to the Oakwood to start all over again.