Saturday, October 18, 2008

Still Rehearsing

In San Marino, our sunny neighbor to the south, work continues on The Mystery Plays at the Stillspeaking Theatre. At this point the set, like the play, is a work in progress. With its steep rake and different levels, we're having to learn how to walk on it. One actor will even ride a bike on it. Oh yeah.

It may not look difficult but working on a set like this reminds me of why actors have to be in good physical condition. A steep slant is no big deal if you only have to stand on it for a few seconds, but moving about quickly on it is quite another thing. And we're going to be doing some of that in the dark. The point is to give the audience an exciting theatrical experience.

Here, Sara Ceballos and Justin Dew rehearse a scene while Dariean Henderson prepares for his entrance. Right now we're the StillTryingToRememberOurLines Theatre, but that's part of the process. When the show opens November first we'll be oh, so ready.

22 comments:

Dina said...

That sounds potentially dangerous. You be careful, girl! I will refrain from saying "Break a leg."

Ted Thompson said...

On the performance side, it's certainly a interesting set. A different take on the multi-level but flat type of layout.

On the practical side, I hope they put something for traction in place. Grip tape wouldn't be practical, but that Grit you can mix into paint would work. Right now, seeing that pitch with bare plywood makes me cringe - depending on their shoes, someone could get really hurt...

Virginia said...

I wouldn't last 5 minutes on that ramp. Slip, slide down the ramp and right to the ER with a broken hip.

Petrea said...

Dina, you made me laugh!

We'll have the grit paint, Ted. We talked about that last night. And shoes.

Virginia, I'm happy to report that my most active scenes are on a flat platform that will be behind the more angled area you see here!

Tanya said...

So cool to see things behind the scenes! Be careful, I know the saying is "break a leg" but don't take it literally!

Laurie said...

Wow, P, I wouldn't want to maneuver that spiral ramp! And one actor will be on a bike? I've heard of suffering for your craft but this is ridiculous! :-)

Now I'm even more intrigued by this play. Can't wait to see it.

Miss Havisham said...

Could one conceal small suction cups on the soles of shoes? Or, would the sound of unsuck upstage?

Miss Havisham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bernie K. said...

Havisham: Yes …

JM said...

That is an amazing set! Would really like to watch the actors moving on that ramp during the play. It can be fantastic!

Cafe Observer said...

Gee, P, y'all will have to walk on that spiral, and in the dark?!
I recommend you wear your knee pads & try to include blind c-ing eye dogs in your script.

Now, I'm even more excited to see this real life drama. Can't wait to see what happens!

Nice pic, btw, with the 3rd actor hiding in the wings.

GutsyWriter said...

Need an actor who can ride a unicycle on that slope? If so, I can send my son over. He can even jump from one shed roof to the next on his unicycle.

Christie said...

Looks like fun!! It will be amazing to see how this all comes together!

Ms M said...

Fascinating set. Wish I would be able to see the play. Sounds like it's going well.

altadenahiker said...

Tell me about stage fright. Do you get it?

Petrea said...

Don't you worry, Laurie, we're not suffering. We're having a blast.

Miss H: I'm afraid unsuck would suck.

Besides glow-tape, there are tricks for seeing in the dark--little things like shutting your eyes hard for a second then opening them--amazing how much more you can see. Actors move about in the dark all the time.

Stage fright: I get nervous before a show, but I'm more excited than scared. Once I'm up there, I'm having fun. Some people are terrified but they probably don't become actors. I've had stage fright dreams, though, where I've been on stage and didn't know what I was supposed to be doing. So I think I can sympathize.

Bernie K. said...

Stage fright is like writer's block: it's only possible if you misunderstand or forget your process.

I'm not an actor, but I went to an acting college and I've lived around actors my whole adult life. Every time one of them locked up with fear, the fear was an illusion: what they'd really done was stop being an actor (i.e., a messenger who immerses in storied realms and returns with unheralded powers of illusion; that's why people buy tickets!!) & started feeling as if they'd become just another one of the audience (i.e., someone to be judged by the normal rules of social behavior). They lost their heroism. But that's never taken from us; we surrender it. So when you seize up like that, you have to reclaim your heroism.

Same with writers: when the page daunts you, write something—write your name and you've mastered the words again. After that, it's merely increments of insight & originality—which is all writing ever is. So you've won.

Trish said...

Having worked in set construction for years, I know only too well that anyone worth their salt will ensure you are all safe. Those behind the scenes want the play to go off without a hitch, including NO flying actors unless the scene calls for it. The THUD and moan emitting from actors does NOT enhance the play!

Having said that, I'd have to agree that the ramp looks a little scary. I don't know the details, but I would have installed railings, at least temporarily to help keep all the actors upright, rather than pitching through the air.

Great pic P---most people do NOT see the behind the scenes stuff and it fascinates most folks.

Bibi said...

Ramps no problem for me, I think. In my next life, I would like to be in the theater.

marley said...

Are you getting paid danger money for working on that set?! It is a really imaginative stage and, as you say, will be a great experience for the audience.

Sharon said...

I am enjoying these behind the scenes stories. Thanks.

Petrea said...

Bernie, I hadn't thought of it that way but that's essentially true. Stage fright happens when your concentration goes in the wrong direction--away from your process, which you know well, toward what can go wrong, which is the unknown.

Trish, you're right. It's impossible to enjoy a show as an audience member if you're nervous for the actors. The rehearsal period is for all of us, technicians, actors, designers, etc. to approach whatever problems the script presents and to solve them together.

Bibi, it's never too late. I see no reason why you couldn't start now.

Marley, we're being paid a stipend. I've never heard it called "danger money," though!

Sharon, I'm glad you like the stories. I don't want to tell too much, just enough to interest people.