For two weeks we have been rehearsing Timon of Athens in the Ensemble Theatre’s other tiny space in the Coventry Elementary building. Working through large cast productions, especially those of Shakespeare, I like to arrange the schedule so I am wasting as little of the actors’ time as possible.
Each scene (as set down by Shakespeare, or rather, his subsequent editors) are broken down into smaller scenes, defined by entrances and exits of characters. Timon may stay on stage for most of Act Four, but others come and go. Instead of working on an entire act, I can call someone who appears once, work on their part of the scene for 30 minutes and then let them go for the night. Some don’t get called at all on certain nights.
We keep track of all entrances and exits – the tour affords three, really, stage left, stage right and through the audience – and hopefully, one day, all the little scenes get presented in their proper order and it hopefully looks like you’ve got something. It’s not the most sophisticated process, but at the age of 46 I am confident in my abilities as an unsophisticated director.
We did that last night, assembling some 2/3s of the entire script and running it twice. This was an enjoyable revelation to me as I found the pacing to be much swifter than I had expected, and that the general mood reflects my own sense of humor. It would appear we are all, as they say, on the same page.
Timon's Banquet (rehearsal)