Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Great Globe Itself: Choreography

Rehearsals for The Great Globe Itself began in earnest last Wednesday. For three nights we met in our rehearsal room, and sat and read and talked. Actually, they did a lot of reading, and I did a lot of talking. But we all sat, looking at books and pictures, sharing stories and tackling several interesting English dialects – OP, Midwestern American, and a few modern of British.

Chuck, our dialect coach, worked one-on-one with each guy while the rest of us kept reading and studying. I threw so much stuff into this script, I have been anxious about how it would be handled by the actors, any actors. By the end of Friday night I was pretty confident that things were on track.

It’s weird, for several years now rehearsals for the outreach tour began in mid-January, with performances commencing the second full week of February. For years we have had a performance on Valentine’s Day -- we auspiciously opened Double Heart on Valentine’s Day itself. Yet we had yesterday off. If we had our traditional schedule, today we would have held our first Sunday afternoon show for an audience braving temperatures below 0° to attend this hot show. I am very glad we pushed the production back a few weeks this year.
Friday evening we took a little field trip … downstairs. I took our gentlemen into the only theater in Northeast Ohio that approximates the conditions of performance present in the Globe Theatre: the Hanna. Safety regulations prohibited our men from standing or working on the thrust stage, but they did have the chance to stand in the house and gaze up into the galleries, and to take in the stage as an Elizabethan audience member might, from all sides, from in the historic boxes.

Tonight, choreography! I have such vivid, happy memories of the dances Carli created for Double Heart. Critics in New York commented upon James’s and Emily’s dance together … sure, I wrote some good lines, but the dancing was how audiences believed they had fallen in love.

The men in Globe, they are not dancing to fall in love. They have work to do, their characters have work to do. Their characters are actors, preparing for a performance, and warming up. That is one of the pieces.

The other piece Carli has prepared is inspired by the curtain call dance, or “jig” which would have been expected from Shakespeare’s audience. If his text is to be believed (or rather, if you are to expect the opinions of certain of the Bard’s characters to be his own opinions) then Shakespeare hated concluding his performances with dancing. But what are you gonna do? The groundlings expect a jig and by gar, we're gonna give them one.

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