Well, it's official - I have "Come to the Fair" stuck in my head and probably will until mid-May. Hopefully you have some songs stuck in your head, too. After all, if I heard Jane correctly, there are only 2 songs that have not been taught yet, which means that the majority of songs have been and there are plenty of choices for which one could be stuck in your head!
This week, in the midst of singing, dancing, and trying on costumes we started blocking the first scene. The first scene is a long one. We actually have a few really long scenes in this show. In a world in which people see more film and television than live productions, it's good to remember that a play is written with different rules than a screenplay or a teleplay. In the latter two, scenes are short by design. With film/tv, having a long scene takes a lot of work to produce and is generally considered to be boring, unless the director comes up with a really interesting way of shooting it, so scenes are generally designed to be shorter and more quick paced. In theater, it is the opposite. This is partly because we can't change locations and settings as easily - that would make scene changes laborious and boring for the audience. Live theater relishes scene work and stage actors love the rehearsal process. Not to say that screen actors, don't, but the medium they work in rarely takes advantage of rehearsals, except of course, when there are long scenes.
In our play, although the first scene is long, it can broken into different parts. The first part is the opening number. The second part is the noblemen and villagers talking, which ends with David and his family leaving for Sherwood Forest. This then segues into the third part, which is our introduction to Sherwood and Robin's merry band. The introduction of Friar Tuck and the fight between him and Robin Hood would be the fourth part, the fifth part starts with the entrance of the Sheriff, Lady Merle, and company, and so on and so forth. All of these parts are mini scenes which allow for a lot of interesting ways to stage the scene.
Another long scene is the fair scene, but again, so much happens that there are mini scenes, keeping the audience entertained. The scene starts with the Sheriff's family, another part of the scene is "Come to the Fair", and yet another part is the archery contest. These scenes might be long, but they involve a lot of people (if not all of them), and also feature a good amount of character introductions and/or plot.
What all of this means for our actors is that while blocking and rehearsing this scene there could be a lot of downtime while waiting for your mini-scene to come up. It also means that we can divide and conquer, having actors go in all directions, working on song, or dance, or blocking, without missing a beat. It's good to have options!
Generally speaking, a visitor to one of NDW rehearsal's would not know where to go first. Something's always going on the gym. Often there's something going on in the middle and/or back room. And then of course there is something going on at all times in the costume room and with set building and in the NDW office. It takes a village to put on a production and our actors do their part (the most important part I think). This experience is so different from tech week when we're basically in the auditorium the whole time (for the most part) fixing and running the show. Putting on a musical never gets boring and keeps everyone on their toes, that's for sure.
For those of you going on vacation, have a great time, but don't forget to practice your songs and your dances! (That goes for everyone!)
See you on Saturday,