Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rosalynde & The Falcon: Stumble-Through

"Rosalynde" company with Movement coach Stephanie Wilbert
It has been a long winter. On February 10 I attended the first read-through of Rosalynde & The Falcon. The next day I began rehearsals for The Great Globe Itself, which has been on the road for two weeks. This afternoon I had my first opportunity to return to Rosalynde, and to sit in on a rehearsal.

Rosalynde is based loosely on Shakespeare’s As You Like It, or maybe something close to a parody of same. After all, the basic storyline had been well-worn before Shags got to it. A young woman fears for her life and escapes to the forest, disguised as a man. There she meets a band of outcasts and has an adventure.

In the folk tale Snow White she falls in love with a prince. In my story, she becomes one.

When we were discussing the season, Ali asked to add a parenthetic title, and suggested A Topsy-Turvy Tale of England. All the plays this year are denoted by parentheticals as to their origins. The Silent Princess (A Turkish Folktale) or Prince Ivan & The Firebird (A Russian Tale of Magic).

At first I was confused, and also afraid. I was afraid audiences would think this play is, well … English. No doubt this is because my heritage is mostly English, and I don’t go around trumpeting that fact because it’s like saying your favorite flavor is vanilla or your favorite color is white.

But that’s ridiculous. The play is based on the work of the greatest playwright ever, who was English. There’s also a lot of Robin Hood in it, he was certainly English. We all saw the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics, right? A tiny island nation faced the world and said, you like culture? We made that.
I am reminded of the 1996 Doctor Who movie, which takes place in San Francisco. Introducing The Doctor to someone, his American companion explains his demeanor to a friend by referring to him as English. The Doctor thinks for a moment and says, “Yes. I suppose I am.”

So, yes. I suppose it is. Rosalynde is an English tale!

There have been many suggested edits to my original script since rehearsals began, and I have agreed to all of them. What I wrote is a comedy, somewhat broad in nature, borrowing from many familiar comic tropes. True to form, the artists at Talespinner have built the work with great music, dance and movement. What works, what is funny, stays. What is only funny to David gets cut.

Settling in for the beginning of today’s first-ever “stumble-through” of all scenes performed together, in order, is\\they began with an old English “whistling song” and I couldn’t help be reminded of the opening of Disney’s animated Robin Hood. And that was a very good sign.

Rosalynde & The Falcon opens at Talespinner Children's Theatre on March 28.

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