ASPIRE BLOG: Exit stage left!

We started working through Act 1 this week, figuring out which side of stage we were coming on from and going off to, establishing which parts still need work and seeing what might need a total re-write.

It can sometimes be difficult doing these kind of rehearsals when you aren’t used to them. It’s important to remember that decisions made aren’t about you, the individual performer, but about the production as a whole and its flow and clarity.

Sometimes, things read well on paper but when we actually see them performed onstage they don’t really work. We realise we can improve on things. That’s what happened with a particular scene on Tuesday. Our actors are trying hard and the script read well, but in the context of the whole production it just didn’t sit right, so we need to alter the script accordingly. As performers it’s important to trust your directors and go with the changes, which I’m proud to say our performers did.

As well as getting to grips with the addition of clear blocking, stage direction, new lines and what I like to call the mechanics of the show it’s important now as performers to really start thinking about your character. Make decisions about how you’re going to perform an item and stick to them. You need to be certain of what your are saying with each line, where your hand is when you’re singing a lyric, what kind of emotion you’re portraying in that choreography. Our band are making a welcome venture onto the stage this year and as this is new territory for a lot of you, you need to really give your facial expressions and movement some thought.

The bones of the production are there, you can see each piece has a glimmer of something special about it, the challenge for the cast is how to continue to build on this and layer their own performance into the mechanics we’re getting to grips with. There is a lot to think about now we are starting to work with set. If you have a prop to use in a scene it’s your responsibility to make sure you have it and have practiced working with it.

Over the next few weeks there are going to be a lot of small changes, it can get frustrating sometimes but it’s important work so please continue to be open to change and run with things. And come to rehearsals ready to give your all in your performance, the hard part is well and truly underway!

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Anna Kerrigan

Anna is the Artistic Director of ASPIRE, an audition-based drama, dance, music and creative and performing arts program produced by the Catholic Schools Office of Maitland-Newcastle.