Aalst Rehearsal No 2:

This is what I’m trying to console myself with after tonight’s rehearsal. Oh my god was today tough… on so many levels that I just didn’t expect.

We started by talking about measuring the success of the production and the audience reactions that we are hoping for. Murph (the director) said that he felt there would be a right and a wrong reaction in his eyes. This sparked a lot of debate (in a good way). Both myself and Ben (the other actor) feel that the main aim when putting on a play, like ‘Aalst’,  is to create discussion; and you can’t provoke discussion with a lot of luke-warm reactions, hence any reaction will be a good one (as long as it’s not that we have been tasteless and gratuitous): Fine.

Cue Blocking of Sections One: My character is cold and disconnected… easy enough. Ben and I are working hard on the eye contact between us; small moments of unspoken intimacy and secrets. I’m only moving my eyes and keeping my voice level and even: Fine.

Cue Read Through of Section Two: My character describes a few hideous acts that have been committed (bearing in mind that this is the part I have been really worried about) – I sail through it. I’m cold and devoid of emotion: Fine

Cue Read Through of Section Three: So.. NOT… fine!! My character begins to show emotions, things that make her angry, things with a strange yet humorous logic to them. She becomes animated. I just didn’t get it. I’m struggling to see her as human and hence am having a real problem with any motivation for her. I couldn’t believe how bad I was. I went from uber posh, to a melodramatic dame, to being Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. It was funny, everyone was laughing… but inside I was panicking.

We talked about how every action has a good intention behind it – and to my total surprise I can grasp the positive intention behind murdering her own children in a hotel room… I can handle that… Can I grasp the intention and motivation behind her intense dislike of Lidl, of her like of black light bulbs, of her incense at not being given a cleaning certificate!? Not at all. I can’t see her in a rage, I can’t see her laughing or happy, I can’t see her in love… I don’t see her. Do I understand why she still writes to her Dad who used to rape her? No.

I’m not at all sure how to get passed this one, which is why I’m ranting on here. If nothing else, I feel better now. We’ve having two rehearsals next week.

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