For the past month or so, The Players were locked in the rehearsal room preparing for our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, now playing at Sydney Opera House. It has been a gruelling rehearsal process comprising rigorous biomechanics training, intensive text analysis and scene work.
Earlier in the year, we were on the road bringing to you our in-schools shows Such Sweet Sorrow and Macbeth: Undone. As the year progressed, we began gearing up for our in-theatre performance. As you can see below, Jane and Ildiko were super keen to enter the ethereal wood on the outskirts of Athens and get their fairy on way back in March whilst in Albury – crafternoon is surely a thing!
What’s it like in the Rehearsal Room?
It was both a rewarding and challenging journey working with The Players from both teams under the direction of our Co-Artistic Director Peter Evans, our Assistant Director James Evans and our Movement Director Nigel Poulton.
An average day in the rehearsal room consisted of a 90-minute morning session of intense physical conditioning and training in the Meyerhold process. What is Meyerhold you ask? Well, Meyerhold (or biomechanics), is a movement system developed by Vsevolod Meyerhold (a Russian contemporary of Stanislavski). The system concerns itself with the art of structural forms in space and the expressive potential of the body. To assist us in executing detailed and precise physical work onstage – both heightened and naturalistic – we had to strengthen and condition our bodies (through a punishing regime of sprints, squats, sit-ups, push-ups, burpees, tumbles, martial arts – you get the idea!). On top of this, we have honed our spatial awareness skills and the ways in which our bodies physically express the intentions of our characters; so that we are constantly aware of our relationship with our audience.
After these physical sessions, we would jump straight into text analysis and scene work. In order to perform any text (let alone classical plays by playwrights like Shakespeare), an actor needs to be fully aware of what they are saying and the character’s need to say those words (the ‘What’ and the ‘Why’). As such, it has been so essential for us to probe the text and really discover and rediscover what each and every word in the play means. This ensures that we best communicate our character’s intentions when we get on the floor to rehearse the scenes. It requires great focus and attention to detail and respect for the work. Not to mention a good Shakespearean dictionary and commentary!
Occasionally though, the boys get a bit sidetracked and decide it’s more fun to be Superman… Did we mention the importance of focus??
After our four weeks of intensive rehearsals we headed into Sydney Opera House to undergo ‘Tech Week’. This is when the set and costumes are ‘bumped-in’ to the theatre and set-up so that full dress and technical runs of the show – including all lighting and sound cues – could begin. It is a useful part of the process so that we are comfortable and confident in the space and are fully prepared once the audience (you!) start heading through the door and taking your seats!
We are all so excited about the production that has emerged and the world and characters that have sprung to life in our rehearsal room!
A huge thanks to Foxtel, and to all of our sponsors who have made this show possible. We look forward to seeing you all there! Make sure you keep us posted with your thoughts and experiences on our Facebook page!
Sydney Opera House
Monday 22 July – Friday 9 August
10:00am and 1:00pm daily
Tuesday 13 August – Friday 16 August
10:00am and 1:00pm daily
Running time: 90 minutes with no interval. To book tickets call 1300 305 730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our stay in Adelaide was one of the longest stretches we have been in one place throughout the whole tour. We were there for a whole two weeks so there was plenty of time for highlights amongst our 29 shows.
For starters (and mains) and by far the highlight of the whole stay was when AJ found an amazing burger that blew his mind.
We played table tennis with the cast of Bell Shakespeare and State Theatre Company of South Australia’s co-production, The Comedy of Errors. The combined 2012/13 Players team of Joe and Anthony destroyed team Errors, who lived up to their name. There is table tennis in their show. Just another reason to see it when it plays in your town. You can get tickets here: http://www.bellshakespeare.com.au/whatson/thecomedyoferrors.
We were lucky enough to stay in the wonderful Adina Treasury Hotel which features a series of secret tunnels and cellars and a spa. We were there at the same time as the voice of Darth Vader, James Earl Jones, and his Driving Miss Daisy co-star, Angela Lansbury. Jane was the only one lucky enough to make a sighting.
Joe is from Adelaide so it was a great chance for him to catch up with his family and drink heaps of Farmer’s Union Ice Coffee which he assures us outsells Coke in Adelaide. Apparently this is the only place in the world where any other beverage does that.
And Jane had a chance to see all of the amazing people that she went to drama school with and we joined her play-reading group ‘Play-C-Bo’ for a reading of Duncan Graham’s great play ‘Dreams in White’.
We also met Xavier Samuel’s mum. It was big morning tea day at Cabra Dominican College.
We performed in the haunted theatre at Scotch College and we were mesmerized by Glenunga International School’s resident magician, Matty B who posted a video of one of his tricks on our wall. Matty, we’re still waiting for that Shakespeare themed trick.