The things a director has to do. Note to self: need to start using props at rehearsals. Remember to drink plenty of wine so we can have the bottles.
Tonight was spent on an in depth look at Scene 1, thinking about why all these people get together for Christmas every year, when they know it will all go wrong, like it always does, and for the same reasons. It must be the triumph of hope over experience. An opening scene like this, introducing the characters and giving some background, can be boring for the audience if you’re not careful, so looking at the text together, identifying those apparently insignificant lines which can be played up and reacted to so that the audience know from what they see as well as what they hear how the characters feel about each other, was very useful. We even found a few jokes we’d missed. Then on to a full run of this scene, the longest in the play. On the whole the moves we’d blocked a couple of weeks ago had stayed in place, but we did have a couple of pile-ups in the hall. It just goes to show how each move has to work together to build up the stage picture you want, and how missing one or getting it wrong can destroy the whole structure. Challenging to direct, but very rewarding when your cherished vision re-emerges.
Last week I noted that I hoped to get two or three goes at a scene each evening. The triumph of hope over experience again. We’ll have to set ourselves a time limit for talking – which probably means Madam Director will have to shut herself up a bit more often!