28 January 2009
"There is no world without Verona walls..."
I came into this development/rehearsal process for The Very Nearly Perfect Comedy of Romeo & Juliet with food poisoning, which I considered a good omen. After all, I arrived for the very first collaboration with Zuppa del Giorno, way back in 2002, with a fever. Now I am recovering (knock on wood, cross your fingers, pray and sacrifice small woodland creatures) from a cold that arrived just in time for yesterday's day off. Hence yesterday was spent largely lying about and feeling sorry for myself (though I did learn a line or two more, as well). Yesterday also, however, delivered some exciting news, with which I must merely taunt you -- I don't want to jinx it by letting on too much. Suffice it to say, I need to get back to New York after rehearsal Thursday night in order to attend an exciting audition Friday afternoon, after which I will HAUL REAR back to Scranton for our last rehearsal before teching.
Things in the world of R&J are good. Good and scary, that is, which is as good as it gets in my personal little circle of hurly-burly. We had a nigh-disastrous "run" Sunday, which has focused our intents to getting the show streamlined and specific. Specifically, David has requested that everyone learn the text in order to depart from it at our leisure (as opposed to the other way around) and the ensemble has been tasked with getting unerringly specific with its foley effects. We are, in brief, starting to fuse together as an ensemble, as our many directors make their choices as specific and consistent as possible. Is there enough time now? No, absolutely not. But that is the status quo, and worser works have saved themselves through a similar schedule.
Today, awaking for the first time in a few days with a little energy, I am spending the whole day at the theatre working on lines and my upcoming audition before this evening's rehearsal. It's more than a little harrowing, having two such important things to prepare for, but it's thrilling as well, and makes me feel a lot of faith. How likely was it that an audition that requires clowning and commedia dell'arte skills should come up just as I'm rehearsing for a show involving both? In this context, even my cold seems to me somewhat fortuitous. It has kept me rested just prior to the news, and given me a lot of time to think about what I'm doing. Actors in general are tempted by perceptions of fate and destiny even when we're not working on Shakespeare; I'm trying to keep my head straight through all this . . . but also to be open to omens, such as they may be.
I wrote some time ago (see 11/28/08) about turning down an audition for a very lucrative commercial because it conflicted with teaching work I was doing out here in Scranton. I have never wavered on the decision, as fruitful as such work may have proven, and if this new audition couldn't be compromised with R&J, I would probably not have committed myself to it. Foolish? Yeah. Then again, I'm the one who has to live with my choices, and I'd rather being doing the work that has something more to do with me and my creative life than someone else's. I feel very lucky indeed to have an opportunity to do both over the next few days.
Now if only I can get off-book for act five at the same time...