Monday, March 12, 2012

King-Sized To Do List

The preparation for The Kingship Cycle is occasionally overwhelming. This is the largest project that ADK Shakes has undertaken to date, so there's a lot to keep up with. I really enjoy writing posts about what is taking place behind the scenes on all our projects, so here's a look at the many things going on right now in order to prepare for next fall and spring's two-part Kingship Cycle.

Tudor Rose Window. Source.
  • Character Maps

Also known as "French Scenes," these maps track each character's trajectory throughout the course of the play. This helps me build Character Tracks to assign to each individual actor, as I can see how the roles can conceivably double up. Luckily, since we have already produced 1, 2, 3 Henry VI and Richard III, we already have maps for these shows complete. I reorganized the doubles based on the concept for this project, but I didn't have to start from scratch. Henry V is also already complete, and we just finished Richard II yesterday.
To Do: 1 & 2 Henry IV

  • Casting Matrix

You can view the Casting Matrix for the first part of The Kingship Cycle and get an idea for how complex this project is! I have only just begun the Matrix for Part Two, but I won't be able to complete it without the aforementioned Character Maps. What makes this project particularly difficult to map is that I want individual actors to follow a character through multiple plays. For example, Falstaff appears in 1 & 2 Henry IV, and therefore the same actor will play Falstaff in both plays. Exciting stuff! But it can be messy when building the Matrix. I learned last weekend that it's better to start from the end and work backwards. The Richmond / Edward double in Richard III is clear from the Map, so that meant Edward and Richmond double in 3 Henry VI. OK, no problem, but where I had Edward placed in 2 Henry VI (in which he speaks only 1 line) didn't work at all. I had to unravel and re-do the Matrix three plays back. Now I know! I will start from Henry V and work backward!
To Do: R2-HV Matrix

  • Scripts

When Patrick and I prepare scripts for performance, we begin with the First Folio. I love the Applause texts of the individual plays. Neil Freeman's notes are terrific. He marks alterations between the various Folio and Quarto texts and describes in detail the changes that appear in each iteration. In our scripts, we preserve First Folio capitalizations and punctuation always, and spelling sometimes. Decisions on alterations to the line are discretionary, and sometimes I will make a note in our script so an actor can see the change and make the decision for themselves. Here's a peek into how different the versions can be. When we first started producing Shakespeare IN THE RAW, though, we had not yet developed this method. So our early scripts are ... well ... kind of a hot mess. I'm currently going through and re-setting the format, fixing typographical errors, and adding footnotes. I won't lie, it's kind of tedious. And there's a giant ticking clock ... the actors are going to need these scripts just as soon as possible. The actor who will be playing Richard III will have approximately 1900 lines to learn. To put that in perspective, an uncut Hamlet speaks 1476 lines. Yeah! What?!?
To Do: Formatting and editing for 1 Henry VI. Light editing for 3 Henry VI and Richard III.
Footnotes for 1, 2, 3 Henry VI, Richard III, Henry V
Everything (!) for Richard II, 1 & 2 Henry IV

  • Auditions

Right! I have to cast these shows! Because the actors playing Richard III and Henry V in particular have such a massive line load, I need to cast and get these scripts out so they have time to actually learn all these lines and prepare these intricate characters. That means auditions have to happen soon! So -- any actors reading this blog, this is for you! -- I'm planning to hold auditions for Part 1 of The Kingship Cycle on Sunday, April 1 and for Part 2 of The Kingship Cycle on Monday, May 14. You can send me your interest at now, but I'll also be emailing a notice to our Actor Mailing List. (If you're not on that and you want to be, email
To Do: Actor Info Sheets and Sides from all eight plays.

  • Calendar

We have come up with a schedule for these rehearsals and performances. It's intense, and I love it! I'm planning a series of weekly workshops leading up to our intensive Shakespeare IN THE RAW style of rehearsal and performance. These workshops will include read-throughs, movement rehearsals, discussions on the genealogy, history, and socio-political issues in the plays. The rehearsals will be set up to put up two plays over the course of a weekend (as we have done in the past with the Bookend and Justice Projects) and then perform the same two plays the following weekend. Weeks 3 and 4 will be putting up and performing (twice each) the second two plays. And Week 5 (my favorite!) will be a marathon of all four plays. This week we have a meeting to ensure that we can hopefully get the specific dates we are looking at -- keep your fingers crossed!
To Do: Reserve all dates for workshops, rehearsals, and performances.

  • Research

This is just an ongoing piece of the puzzle. I am fortunate to be doing a portion of this work as my directed research for the spring semester. It's fascinating reading, and it's great exercise for my brain. I can't wait to dig into more reading on the law and history of the period. I'm swimming around in the first tetralogy of plays right now and also looking forward to diving into the second tetralogy.

Even though this To Do List is big and long and complicated, it's a wonderful feeling to realize that there's nothing else I'd rather be doing.

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