Surfing on a wave of panic (2nd rehearsal)

Perhaps I was just tired?  I’d got back from Venice on Tuesday, had the first rehearsal on Wednesday night, unsuccessfully auditioned for the Olympics Games opening ceremony on Thursday night, gone out for what I thought would be a quiet dinner on Friday night (interpretive dance to West End and Broadway tracks till 3am….), met a friend for the John Martin exhibition on Saturday and collapsed in front of Strictly and Merlin on Saturday night.  Maybe I just needed more sleep.  Or less.  Because I had a succession of anxiety dreams about the rehearsal on Sunday…

First up – the classic – I’m late.  I was there early, but filled the time with shopping, and then only noticed too late that it was 4pm (the rehearsal was scheduled to start at 2.30pm) – oh no – they will be so cross – will they still be there – I start back to the rehearsal but suddenly its 6pm and then 8pm – time is whirling out of control….

back to dreamless sleep

Then – I’m almost there, rushing to get there on time – I’ve left my notes at home – do I have time to go back? No! I will just have to do it without notes.  I’m OK with that….

back to dreamless sleep

Then – I’m rushing to get there on time, but others are with me also heading to the rehearsal, but I take a wrong turning, it’s a short cut, is it? It’s a beach (so common in Balham), but the tide is coming in, we are cut off! I have to scramble over the rocks and up a steep slip way, I am back in the town where I was shopping in the first dream, but now I can’t remember the way to the rehearsal…

back to dreamless sleep and then….

I wake up! In plenty of time to get myself organised, check that I do have all my notes and arrive in Balham.  I get to the rehearsal 15 minutes early.  Only two people there ahead of me.  And breathe….

I don’t feel that I rushed through the workshop, we covered every thing I wanted to do, on reflection we could have had a longer tea-break (!) and yet we finished almost an hour early.  I think some of my panic may have leached into the rehearsal.  However the bonus was that we had time and (to my great joy) willingness (the alternative was the pub) to put some of the crowd stuff into context.  With the brave co-operation of the actor playing Mark Antony we played with a scene of one speaker, speaking to the mob.  As we haven’t rehearsed any of Mark Antony’s speeches yet we used the piece from Henry V that we used in the verse workshop on Wednesday.  The results were more than pleasing.

Perhaps I don’t need to panic.  In less than 3 hours we had created a cohesive ensemble who with minimal direction from me could create a plausible crowd interacting with a speaker.  However I do have to face that fact that I am directing a 5 act Shakespeare play – with additional twitter feed – with 26 actors in only 60 hours.

But panic isn’t going to make that any easier as my dream of short cuts and rising tides perhaps foretold.  So I just need to keep on track and hope that we don’t lose rehearsal time to snow and flu.  I am also reassured that I have a smart, intelligent cast who will pick things up quickly and who also seem to understand my vision – I shouldn’t really be asking for more….

But I will ;o)

For a more detailed blog about the Crowd Workshop itself see Emma Burford’s piece on the Southside Players blog.

We also taped some of it so hopefully some footage will appear there soon.

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