Today’s Date: 6/27/2019
Show Title: Gallathea
Assistant Directors: Lauren Carlton and Cortland Nesley
Production Intern: Spencer Cohen (Stage Manager) and Jules Talbot (Dramaturg)
Rehearsal Room: Hunt West
What we did:
The last few days have been very busy. After rehearsal on Tuesday, this session’s three dramaturgs—myself, Joe (Romeo and Juliet), and Grace (Measure for Measure)—presented our research on our plays to all of camp. Then, on Wednesday we took a day trip to Sherando Lake and spent the night watching archival footage of ASC shows, including a Twelfth Night starring one of this session’s directors.
Today’s rehearsal began by revisiting the show song, “Boys / Boys / Girls,” and combining the musicians and the singers. Today was also the off book date for the first half of the show, meaning that our actors can no longer carry their scripts. We worked scenes 1.1 to 2.1 really thoroughly, pausing and restarting frequently to examine the moment-to-moment, beat-by-beat, nitty-gritty details of every scene. Being off book opens a new range of movement, expression and nuance that just isn’t feasible with a script in-hand, nuance like Gallathea and Phillida’s (Mia and Mary Rose’s) first moment of eye contact in 2.1 (which is adorable).
But “off book” doesn’t mean word-perfect yet—for now, a member of the production team will be reading along in the script for when actors call line (or its early modern, nerdy equivalent “Prithee”). Actors are allowed to call for line until the final dress rehearsal. In addition to Gallathea, a lot of campers are also in the midst of memorizing scenes for Saturday’s showcase performance (an opportunity to play a dream role or recite a bucket-list speech not included in the Session 1 plays). With so much to memorize, nobody is penalized for blanking on a line. Finch started a conversation today about different memorization tactics for different brains, from kinesthetic memory to drilling. Associating a line with a particular movement onstage triggers some actors’ recall; others record themselves reciting their lines and listen to them, and others still huddle in hallways muttering to themselves (an increasingly common sight in the PEG dorms).
Quick and Quotable
From the play:
Oh, thou hast a sweet life, mariner. I pray thee, how often hast thou been drowned?
Fool, thou see’st I am yet alive.
Why, be they dead that be drowned? I had thought they had been with the fish, and so by chance been caught up with them in a net again (1.4.88-91).
From the director:
“I’m going to do a terrible director thing.”
From the cast:
Finch: “How high are the stakes in this scene?”
Alex: “Life or death. Kinda high, I guess.”
After dramaturgical presentations and learning a lot about the other Session 1 shows on Tuesday, I’ve been thinking more about both where the three overlap and where they diverge. Romeo and Juliet is famously (infamously) tragic, and Measure for Measure, purportedly a comedy, is maybe even more harrowing, but Gallathea is a play that ends in joy.
Of course, that joy is bittersweet, and of course I love a good bloody tragedy, but I realized that I’m grateful to be working on this sweet, hopeful, heartfelt play where love wins.