Today’s Date: 6/27/23
Show Title: JULIUS CAESAR
Director: Natasia Reinhardt
Staff Crew: Assistant Directors: Cole Metz and Liv Meredith. Dramaturg: Eli Dietrich. Stage Manager: Lillian Malone.
What we did
In continuing our work from yesterday, the campers read through the rest of the play and thought about their objectives, wants, and needs. We stopped yesterday with the death of Caesar, so it was interesting to see how many characters who previously had “kill Caesar” as their objective suddenly found themselves with much more intricate through-lines. Then, after a short break, we moved on to different character work. Using Uta Hagen’s “nine questions” from her book Respect For Acting (1971), Natasia led the campers through how to do in-depth character work. The questions the campers were asked:
Who am I?
Where am I?
What grounds me?
What time is it?
What are the given circumstances?
What do I want? (which campers had worked on yesterday)
What are my relationships?
What’s in my way?
What do I do to get what I want?
These questions helped the campers understand the play and build a realistic character backstory. Making sure to hammer home that regardless of the actual history, each camper must have a general idea about how their character relates to the world. Today was a kind of Dungeons and Dragons character creation day in which we evaluated flaws, virtues, ego, and all the rest. We worked on a small amount of rhetoric at the end of rehearsal. We reviewed Mark Antony’s “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” speech and picked out all types of repetition and omission in the script.
Quick and Quotable
- From the play We made sure to focus on consonants and vowels and how the words of the play felt in our mouths when doing Antony’s speech. Focusing on these details helped us think about the rhetorical ways manipulation is possible.
- From the director Great insights were made on the nature of the Plebians, and Natasia asked the cast to think about the side (Antony or Brutus) they will take during the big oration scene.
- From the cast Marcos made a memorable insight about Julius Caesar (the character they play) when they realized that Caesar is a general out of practice in politics. Caesar is “naive” to the plot, which makes the beginning of the character’s arc extremely interesting.
Overall, the cast seems to be connecting well with the character work. While some might prefer to start with blocking or music, Natasia’s approach to fully understanding the play as an ensemble cast shows how cooperative this play is. There are no minor roles, and most actors are on stage for most of the play. This rhetorical and world-building work will make our Caesar a more unified and connected whole. We really focused on how each individual character has their own personality, and we fleshed out every actor’s feelings about them. I think that going into blocking these wonderful campers will have the resources needed to create a really fascinating performance. We also laid the groundwork for rhetoric and language study, which will come in handy later on in the rehearsal process.