Here I am, at the end of the first two weeks of rehearsal for MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, and it's about time I shared some reflections on the journey so far.
Clearly, most of the cast is still struggling with what they have to say. Not just learning to say it, but understanding just what the words they have to say mean. For my part, I can't understand why it's so difficult to get them to do something about that. Just as horses sense fear, audiences sense uncertainty, and you should never set foot on stage unless you can be completely confident at every moment.
It's also becoming apparent to me that we need to get our books out of our hands as soon as possible, because we will need the use of the entire body, hands, heads, everything in order to make the meaning clear at all times. And that is paramount--absolute clarity. Once the audience thinks they can't follow every single moment, their attention will start to wander, and soon they drift into a polite stupor, and the point of the exercise will be lost. We will be praised, but without genuine conviction and excitement. And polite approval without enthusiasm is death to a Shakespeare production.
"[I]f I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week…The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature." --Charles Darwin