Last week was the dress rehearsal for our final performance. Nine pairs of us have been rehearsing a short scene each, from different plays, and this was the first chance we had to see them all. I hadn’t realised how much of the evening’s work would be logistical: putting the minimal and generic set up; sorting out props and costumes; and working out who would be changing the set and props between each scene. All made much harder by most people apparently having the tiniest of attention spans.
We did, eventually, all run through our scenes successfully. My general dissatisfaction with the course had probably coloured my expectations as I was pleasantly surprised that everyone was at least competent and some really good. Myself and Mark kept up the energy from the last time we’d run through it, a week earlier, and this seemed to work very well — our exchanges seemed much zippier and there was far more of a connection between us. I suspect some of this is simply due to the presence of an audience, even an audience of our classmates. While I wasn’t overly aware of it, and I didn’t feel nervous, the audience does somehow make everything feel a bit more alive, for want of a better word. More concretely, the costume (my second hand 1970s grey pinstripe suit) helped me feel a little more powerful and, I think, helped Mark feel a little more intimidated.
(I’m becoming increasingly aware, writing these posts, how inevitable it is that I gradually descend into Luvvie-speak. Writing about acting, and what makes something work better than another thing, is really hard without being either all wishy-washy or overly precious. Please slap me if I do this.)
We came away from the long evening feeling happy about the scene, although a little wary that it could be all downhill from there. At least I’d completely forgotten my lines at one awful, time-slowing, horribly silent moment, so there was still room for improvement. What with the bank holiday weekend and work we didn’t have a chance to run through it again until yesterday, just before the final performance…