news, updates, and conversations from Volcano Theatre

Friday, 13 March 2015

Dear Diary: Infinity Rehearsal, Week 2

Every week, Infinity Assistant Director, Mariel Marshall writes us a diary entry of her experience in the rehearsal hall. If you haven't already, start at the beginning by scrolling down to Dear Diary: Preparing for Infinity Rehearsals. 

Here's what Mariel has to say about the second week in the rehearsal hall:

We’ve just finished week two of rehearsals for Infinity.  This week we completed staging the piece: creating a basic structure for where actors are placed in scenes, where set pieces live, and how actors transition from one scene to the next.

The playwright, Hannah Moscovitch, continues to make changes to the script. It’s exciting to see what comes in from her on a day to day basis. At first, there were additions of an entirely new scene. At this point, the changes have become more subtle.

Haley McGee looks through her script
In rehearsals this week, the actors have been working with gesture and physical explorations. We used a movement exercise developed by Michael Chekov as a way for the actors to explore the psychological and physical world of their characters. For each character in the play, we brainstormed a number of known and popular archetypes, for example: the femme fatale, the wizard, the prodigal son, or the manic pixie dream girl.  The actors picked three of the archetypes that resonated with them, and developed a gesture for each archetype. It was a fun and compelling way to get to the heart of a character’s psychology. The archetypal movements that the actors created were also refined into much smaller and subtler gestures, and incorporated throughout the play. We have also introduced the gestures in the play’s dance/movement sequence, choreographed by Kate Alton.

We have also been doing a lot of intricate work with transforming a very minimal set into different locations, including a public washroom, a hospital room and a family home. In order for these set changes to happen smoothly, there is lot of challenging prop choreography for the actors to learn. As we move from scene to scene – and of course considering costume changes and the needs of the set and lighting design, each movement and transition must be carefully considered and planned.

Director, Ross Manson speaking with Amy Rutherford and Paul Braunstein.
In the design department, we've had our first costume fittings and the characters are taking shape very nicely. We are working with designer Teresa Przybylski on both set and costume design, and it's incredible to see how skilled she is with crafting a design that is minimal, functional and effective in conveying the world of the play. 

Next week, we’ll be going back through the piece and layering in more depth within the scenes, clarifying blocking and smoothing out any last changes.

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