Merchant of Venice Rehearsals Day 13

Less than a week to go! We’re ploughing on with staging the play.
Today started with a movement section – keep an eye out for that in the production! Needless to say the cast didn’t need a great deal of direction, which you’ll understand when you see it. Safe to say it’s a moment they all seem to enjoy.

Working as an ensemble has shed loads of benefits. We’re all in the rehearsal room all the time, so offerings Ricky makes to one actor
are heard and acknowledged by everyone. Being together also means there are a great deal more ideas thrown around; a problem shared twelve ways is usually solved. Working in this way allows us all to share in the creative process, nothing is imposed on the actors – movement comes from them, staging is inspired by their contributions.

We also focused on the first scene between Bassanio and Portia, it’s one of our longest and fairly crucial in terms of plot! It’s also one of my favourite scenes in the entirety of Shakespeare’s canon. The language, in parts, is beautiful and packed with stunning imagery and metaphors. Bring on Tuesday!

NP

Today I learnt a lesson that will remain engraved on the oak of my brain for the rest of my acting career. I may not have many lines but they are beautiful lines with a musicality and a poetry to them that as of late if have not paid my dues to.

One of my many faults as an actor (and there are many) is line learning. If I can get away with paraphrasing than I would. I am slowly getting better at it and it was partly the reason for taking on a Shakespeare. If you can blah a Shakespeare text then you are a literary genius with a divine hold on the English language. I am not that person so I have honestly tried so hard to learn them word for word, sentence by sentence.

So today, I blanked. The line opened the emergency escape hatch in my brain and left me stranded. I have never felt so embarrassed in my (professional) life. We spent at least ten minutes (that felt like hours) breaking down my one line into single thoughts. Ricky was relentless and wouldn’t let me escape. What I can say is that I know the line inside out and more importantly I understand it. And even MORE importantly so will you when you hear it. We are taught not to apologise during rehearsals for our mistakes so I won’t apologise to Ricky or my colleagues but I will thank them whole heartedly for their patience and love!

JM

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