Jim's Richard III Blog

What had started as a blog of Richard III rehearsal process at Cal Shakes has now evolved or devolved into a small novella. The author is petrified to change the name for fear it'll disappear, and wouldn't know what to call it anyway. Many stories are included and questions are even answered sometimes!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reality Check

And here I interject some realtime rehearsal tidbits.

Things've been going swimmingly on my front at least--with MUCH effort I've finally gotten used to the idea of not working very hard and am spending my days by the pool with my wine spritzers, musing on the nature of the Universe and wondering how things are going in rehearsal-land. I walk in now with a relaxed, mellow glow about me. Sweaty actors who've been locked in the inferno of the rehearsal hall for hours grunt at me as I enter at 3:00-ish in the afternoon. Nobody talks to me much anymore. T. Eddie Webster flipped me off as I was leaving yesterday--he still had the other half of the play to do. Dan Hiatt's gentle smiles are a little frayed. "Hey Dan; nice hair today!" I sense a simmering resentment..................I stay away from the weapons table and speak in calm soothing tones.

But I've actually SEEN some of the show now and you know what? It looks terrific. Really. You should see it; Reg is fantastic as Richard--he limps, he struts, he connives with deadly glee. And he enjoys it. So will the audience--hate him and love him at once. Come see, OK?

J. Moscone commented that the King scene I have is much like singing an aria--with no warmup; it's true and it's one of the things that make that speech so difficult--I've just a short scene and then all the personal connections come home to roost. But the speech does feel more connected now; I made an interesting discovery yesterday--when I really personalized my memory of Clarence (my sentenced, pardoned, and slain brother) by thinking specifically of Max Moore, the actor who's playing his role, I actually felt something. Wow. Just think! The more specific it is the better it is.......
I'll have to try that more often.

Often the adjustments you make to cause a piece of text work and come alive for you are minuscule--others will notice a different stress on a word perhaps, a different attack on a line and think "Hmm. Interesting." but for the actor making that adjustment it'll be a major event, a mind blowing revelation and a key to your character. Go figure.

When I pictured Max coming over to my side and saving my life on the field of battle and supporting my Kingship, of Max wrapping me in his own clothes when we both lay freezing on the battlefield all those little emotional connections pieced together and the speech landed the way it should. The Devil is in the details. Max is wonderful as well, by the way--I love his scene and I'm not just saying that because he's a fellow blogger, very funny and could slander me within an inch of my life if he so chose.

We had first tech on Thursday--beautiful and hot at the Bruns; I love coming back to this space every year--it's always a bit different and I love seeing how it's evolved.

Coming up: Bruns Stage Stories


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