Tuesday, January 29, 2013

First week of Rehearsals for Clemency - Asst. Director Eve Summer

"It has been a whirlwind week of rehearsals; over the past 6 days we have rehearsed musically and staged Hagar's Lament and Clemency!  Even though the entire production only runs about an hour, we still have to create fully developed characters and the performers have to commit all of their music and staging comfortably to memory, not to mention sneaking in costume fittings or dinner, so we have to come into the studio every day with a thoughtful plan of attack! 

We start the week, and then each rehearsal block by rehearsing musically; David Angus, the conductor, and Brett Hodgdon, the coach and accompanist, take the singers through each section before we begin staging.  Then we talk about character and the text a little, and then put the basic framework of the scene on its feet by giving the performers some blocking (telling them where to go on the stage, and when to do it).  In the first few days we had the whole production sketched out so that we could breathe easy knowing the building blocks were there. Next, we went back and started working on specific scenes, and specific moments within in each scene, and either refining or solidifying the blocking.

Eve Summer
Our day usually consists of two rehearsals with a lunch break in between (if there were a chorus, we would have three!).  Although it's only about 6 hours of rehearsing in studio each day (that may sound like an easy day), the work is incredibly intense, both for the singers and the team and staff who must be ferociously focused to put together, commit to memory, and perform masterfully a polished production within a matter of weeks.

And what do I do? I arrive about 1/2 hour before the singers are called to go over the plan for rehearsal, and check in with the director and stage management to see if there are any issues we need to discuss, such as scheduling a costume fitting, introducing a new prop, or modifying a bit of blocking.  During rehearsal I record the placement of all the performers during each moment of the opera both to serve as a reference to remind the singers of their staging, and to have a thorough record of the production in case it is remounted in the future.  I act as a sounding board for the director to bounce ideas around or suggest potential solutions to issues that come up. I take notes during each run and either go through them with the director and the artists, or work on them with some people while Andrew (the stage director) works with others. After rehearsal I finalize the plan for the following day's rehearsal and touch base with stage management to add any notes to the rehearsal report that goes out at the end of the day.

It's back to work in the studio for now, until next week when we move into the theater for tech!"

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