Director Paul Crook blocked all of Henry IV Part I yesterday (Part II is being blocked this morning), efficiently and on schedule. The blocking is somewhat open, framed by where the actors need to begin and end up. Later, director Aaron Adair blocked the first thirty pages of Complete History of America, Abridged, very tightly, stitching the performance together bit-to-bit. Aaron is dictating not just blocking but specific gestures and line readings, while at the same time acknowledging that we--the actors--will end up letting go much of it in later rehearsals and performance. At the beginning of rehearsal, this approach frustrated me, because there was no room for me to rely on my instincts. But, eventually, I saw that because CHAA is such a vaudeville act, the more structure the actors have to fall back on, the more liberated we will be to trust our instincts within the 'world' that structure creates. Despite the gesture-by-gesture direction, the show if full of improvisational moments and audience involvement. The tight structure is going to save me ass.
The Guys & Dolls rehearsal focused on the difficult choral singing in "Don't Rock the Boat." I AM on stage for a couple of numbers--including this one--so I have to nail my part, especially because I'm the only one of the three bases to have real base-like resonance in my voice. This is scary, because if I don't come in--if I try to weenie out by mouthing the words--the musical director will hear it. Damn, damn, damn.
I'm not getting paid much, but I'm beginning to see my small check as a scholarship for invaluable training.