news, updates, and conversations from Volcano Theatre

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Infinity Rehearsal Journal: December 10-12, 2013

Clare Preuss is Volcano's associate artistic director. She's keeping tabs on the beginnings of Infinity, a new play by Hannah Moscovitch currently in development... 

The Infinity team has gathered at the welcoming Aluna Theatre rehearsal space for another round of workshopping Hannah Moscovitch’s deeply moving and intellectually stimulating play.  We have congregated numerous times in the past year for short, one-day workshops. These mini workshops have all been fruitful as Hannah continues to develop the piece under the direction of Volcano’s Artistic Director Ross Manson and with the support of actors, Paul Braunstein, Haley McGee and Amy Rutherford along with choreographer Kate Alton, composer Njo Kong Kie and violinist Andrea Tyniec and myself, Associate Artistic Director Clare Preuss.

It is such a delight to have the luxury of a two-week workshop process as it gives us the ability to deepen the textual, physical, movement and design elements of the play with a continuous flow of collaboration.  The first three days of this adventure have been very rewarding.

On day one, we began with some fun and illuminating physical warm up lead by Ross.  Then, we each brought in five objects and placed them around the border of the hall.  Some of these objects were meaningful to the story of the play and others were mundane, everyday objects.  Each actor picked three pieces and we then asked the actors a series of questions about the objects, which they answered in character.  This exercise proved to be an ideal way to delve into the shared back-story of this family of three - unearthing potential commonalities and links in behavior as well as points of long-standing tension and challenge.  That afternoon, we began reading Hannah’s newest draft of the piece.  We almost made it to the end of act one.  It was a full and productive first day!
Actors Paul Braunstein, Amy Rutherford, and Haley McGee
On day two, Ross once again led us in some group warm-up.  This time, we had fun imitating each other’s walks, which is always a great laugh, but also proved useful for the actors as they are portraying a family unit and this kind of body awareness is a useful tool in feeling intimately connected to each other.  Following the warm-up, Ross led an exercise to devise two archetypal gestures for each actor.  This Michael Chekov-based technique provided results that were compelling and will help both Ross and choreographer, Kate Alton, develop the physical world of the piece.  After break, we got back to reading the play and almost made it to the end of the text.  Following rehearsal, Ross, Kate, Hannah, Kong Kie and stage manager Isabelle Ly had a script meeting and Hannah left eager to make some changes.

On day three, Hannah brought in a whole new draft!  We dove right into it and worked through the play at the table, engaged in scene work and discussion.  One of the big questions the team is mulling over is the use of music in the piece.  As both mother (Carmen) and daughter (Sarah Jean) in the play are violinists while the father (Elliot) is a theoretical physicist, we are keen to discover how the powerful music that Kong Kie has composed and Andrea plays can support and partner the text-based work.  We also continue to investigate the relationship between Sarah Jean’s solo adult scenes and the childhood scenes she shares with Carmen and Elliot.  By the end of rehearsal day three, the team seems inspired and ready to continue the development of this play rich with poignancy.

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