Fresh Eyes on The Understudy, 3rd Installment

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Fresh Eyes on The Understudy (L to R): Katrin Kasper, Bonnie Keling, Alan Scott Holley and Trish Garner
Owen Carey

In this installment, Fresh Eyes observed two different sessions: a run through and a technical rehearsal. The run through was one of the last rehearsals before moving onto the stage – marking the end of the cozy time when the focus is all on the actors and working through the show moment by moment. When everything moves into the theatre – onto the set! – it’s a whole new kettle of fish: for a few days it will be “Actors, schmactors – when does the platform roll in?!?” Coordinating the work of stage crew, designers, board operators and stage management takes precedence over everything else, but the actors continue to work together on their scenes while they wait for the technical work to proceed.

Here are a few observations from our fine Fresh Eyes crew, and you can read their full responses here.

Everybody is a little distracted by the new environment and by figuring out the blocking on stage. But the actors quickly pick up directions and keep going. I experienced their energy differently in the actual theatre. It was much more alive than in the rehearsal space. – Katrin Kasper

Emphasis on stressing the frequently-used “F word” as an adjective, not as the subject, so the audience doesn’t miss the point.  Also, the mirroring between scenes.   For example the ‘slap, then kiss’ vs. the ‘kiss, then slap’.  This reflects for me the playwright’s deliberate multi-sensory structuring & balance as the story moves along. – Bonnie Lee Keling

I was totally impressed with the work that was done among the actors with Roxanne’s slapping Jake.  Who would have thought of the difference between a slap being made with a more or less straight arm versus a rounded motion?  But Gavin’s ideas were right on target – literally! – Trish Garner

There is so much tweaking to be done and so many new considerations to keep in mind at any given time. For example, while the director watched his actors play a scene, he would constantly move about the theater in order to see the action from the perspective of future audience members from different seating areas. A scene may look great from the right half of the theater, but an actor may be completely blocked by another actor or a piece of the set on the left half. That’s one of about a hundred things everyone has to think about when a set is thrown into the equation. – Alan Scott Holley

Check back next week when Fresh Eyes will be on the first preview – watching how the audience’s response is another character in the play!