Week 1: snow, freezing temperatures, a “State of Emergency,” the Sword of John Adams and a touch of magic.
We’ve been Vortexed. As we went about our tax and banking business on Monday we were told that the University was being closed for the rest of the day due to an official ‘State of Emergency’ (exciting!). Any car on the road after 6pm would be subject to a heavy fine, so businesses duly closed as employees struggled to get to work (or arrange how to get home again). We hot-footed it to the supermarket for supplies (and an impromptu photo) and commenced a 36 hour lock-down in the hotel.
We rehearsed in their Gold Conference room where the carpet is so psychedelic it almost became the 6th actor in our play.
Wednesday we were allowed back into Washington Hall. After a quick visit to the stage, which will see our opening night this Wednesday (eek!) we made our way up to The Lab to continue rehearsals (without the crazy carpet). Thursday we ran the play in front of a very kind and generous invited audience that included Grant Mudge, Artistic Director of Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, who fondly remembers the AFTLS production of As You Like It 25 years ago that inspired him to build a career in the world of Shakespeare ….such is the magic of Arden.
We are still working to fine tune various bits of the play; transitions between scenes and characters, motivations and drivers for scenes and polishing the crazy dance that is 8 couples on stage at once (with only 5 actors to embody them)…hello Act 5, Sc4! Exploring how best to represent the power and presence of the Forest on stage, has also been a focus for us. Jen has been playing around with Rosalind/Ganymede’s connection to the power and magic of Arden.
“Believe then, if you please, that I can do strange things”
Encouraged greatly by Scott:
“Are you magic-ing? If you’re going to do magic then go for it…make it more magic-y”…
He’s right though, in this work choices have to bold, clear and motivated and when this happens the characters are drawn out and defined by the forest that surrounds them….Arden (not the hotel carpet) becomes the 6th actor in the play.
At the end of a long week of snow and magic-ing (!) came a cast and company meal to Corndance, where many partook of the ‘Sword of John Adams’…as a pescatarian I merely looked on in wonder (while tucking in to delicious pear and nut ravioli)….and increasing awe as colleagues ploughed their way through. I did manage the amazing melting chocolate cake for pudding though.
This evening some of us are off to celebrate the Super Bowl with the ever lovely and hospitable Debs Gasper our wonderful company manager. Somebody will have to explain the rules I think…Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos…and, erm, a ball…or a bowl?