This week I am deep in notes for the Bookend Project, a little more heavily in Titus at the moment. It is so strange for me to preparing a text completely in a director's mindset instead of an actor's. I've de-facto directed in the past, but even then I have always been in the show as an actor too. So it is really weird to be going through a script and not have to memorize any part of it. While I am unspeakably excited to see what my amazing cast is going to bring to these two productions, I am a little upset that I don't get to be on stage with them.
What a learning experience this is going to be! Our read-through of both plays will take place this coming Friday. I will be taking down errors in memorization, notes on choices in scansion, the time of scenes ... but for the first time in a RAW production, I do not have to worry if I have memorized all my lines well enough. This actually me feel completely unprepared for Friday! I don't have my lines memorized! Wait ... I don't have lines. I have to juggle both plays in their entirety and thirteen actors. I want to balance each actor's preparation and interpretations with my own.
The Bookend Project marks not only my first RAW as a non-actor, but our very first production as a company with a real, honest-to-goodness, not-de-facto director. I am so curious how this will change things for the acting company. Usually Patrick or I will de-facto-direct, meaning that each actor is for the most part free to interpret their characters as they see fit, determining entrances and exits and minimalist staging on their own. They will bring questions to us and we will stage the more complicated scenes, offering much less direction than a typical production. This is more in line with original practices where there was no person whose job title was "director." With only thirteen hours of rehearsal for each show, I am curious to see how having such a person will (hopefully) streamline rehearsal, focusing each actor and their interpretation of the work.
To those few veterans we have in the Bookend Company: I hope you will offer some constructive feedback next month on how the process is different from a typical RAW. To our new company members: I hope you are excited for the thrill of the RAW and will offer some feedback as well on how our rehearsal process is different from other companies with which you have worked. To our audience: As strange as it will be for me, I am so excited to be sitting in your seat for the very first time. I am looking forward to the ride of my life.