This week at Natick Drama Workshop we got right to work. We started off with the read-thru and ended our day with various actors learning music, dancing, and doing character work.
The read-thru is the first time our actors see the script. It is also the first time that we have the cast “perform” together. Sure, they’re sitting in a circle and not putting too much effort into it, but from the read-thru you can get a sense of what the final product will sound like. It’s always nice to see our actors get into it and not just read the lines on the page.
Our actors all worked together to learn “Twinderella” – our first ensemble number of the show. This song will really get stuck in your head! Other songs learned this week were “There is Love” (which was also the audition song) and “Cinderella Do This (Bob Do That)”. Cinderella and Bob also worked on their solos in “There is Love” along with the Prince and Princess down in the music room.
Lisa was back this week and jumped right in, teaching the waltz to several of our actors. The waltz is a big part of the ball scene and our actors need to be able to dance while singing “There is Love” so it’s good that they got started on that right away.
Any actors who weren’t learning music with Will, or choreography with Lisa were either trying on costumes or in the middle room with me (assisted by our new Production Assistant, Bella) doing character work. Character work this early in the process consists of actors introducing their characters and telling us all about them. Sometimes I ask questions about how certain characters get along, and every now and then I have to correct the answers given, but for the most part, actors have free range in how they think of their characters.
Character work is really important, not just for the individual actor, but also in adding layers to our show. For example, if all of our kid characters had the same personality, that wouldn’t be fun to watch. So by talking to all of our “kids” we can figure out who the sassy one is, who’s curious, who’s a know-it-all, etc. When we get into the “kids’” scene work, this will help. This is the same for the townspeople as well.
This also helps with characters who have very clear personalities in the script. It’s good to talk to the actor playing, for example, the King. He spends the majority of the play needing to have his shoes tied and being confused. Talking to the actor about this shows that he “gets” his character and from there we can expand into relationships easily. The actor playing the King will also have a better idea of how to approach his character when we do start to work on his scenes.
Speaking of scenes – while we were all hard at work this Saturday, Cindy was meeting with various people working on scenery (scenery-scenes – that’s my segue) and costumes. These are things that happen behind the scenes, but are just as important to the show. The whole show is based on the director’s vision. So when Cindy directs actors, she is doing so with a plan in mind. Similarly, the set and the approach to costumes are all based on that same plan. Having Cindy meet with set and costume folks is what allows us to have the best set possible and the best costumes possible. Now, these parents can be backstage working on various non-acting aspects of the show (that all come together during tech week) knowing that their creations will fit into the larger concept of Cindy’s vision for Twinderella.
Well that’s all from me this week. On Saturday I look forward to seeing everyone in their mentor groups, getting to know one another and continuing to work together to put on our best show yet.