"[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

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Directing Shakespeare, Post #3

First of all, we have made staggering progress with the physical setting, thanks to Jim Africano and his fabulous squad of adult volunteers. The floor plan is completely laid out, and as I write this, nearly all of the base coats of paint are down, so we are approaching the finishing stages on the set--the highlighting and shadowing that will make the whole thing pop. Matt Kaprelian, scene artist extraordinaire will be paying a visit soon and we will be wrapping up that aspect of the production before long.

I can't say I've learned or taught much about Shakespeare, theater or comedy. The cast is struggling hard to learn the lines, and I think they seriously underestimated the technical difficulty of what they are undertaking. In memorizing Shakespeare, one cannot fall back on remembered patterns from everyday speech. You have to learn the music note for note. Not surprisingly, several of the trained musicians are doing the best in memorizing, although that is not true across the board--a trend more than a true correlation. My directorial fingers are itching to reach in and help them shape scenes and sharpen the story, but I really have to keep hands off until they get their own internal mechanical work done. We did have some good moments at our workshop rehearsal last Friday--I stood in for some people who were missing and could give the other actors a little fire in their scenes, and then they started to come to life. Interesting and surprising sometimes to see who has a real knack and talent for this type of acting...and one or two students who underestimate themselves and therefore do not apply the kind of effort they would if they really believed in themselves.

If I haven't said it before, Christine Batac has real talent, not just as a choreographer, but potentially as a director. She has a sense of movement (obviously), space and timing and easily makes adjustments as needed and as requested. I wish we had got her involved sooner, but I believe she is a junior and could potentially develop as a major theater talent in an area other than pure performing--although she does want to audition for the spring musical--and everybody should have that experience who wants it!

Here we are, hard at work. Wish I had a picture of the finished set and the beautiful colors Lisette Morel has selected for it. Can't wait to see what the art classes come up with for masks for our masquerade ball!

Oh, and I forget the inestimable Mr. Peter Torpie, who not only provides invaluable logistical support in managing our mobs of students and helping herd them where they need to be, but is also a pretty impressive Shakespeare scholar himself! These science teachers are full of dark secrets!

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