Up until now, rehearsals have been scene focused. Each scene has been scrutinized and picked over by multiple directors. The actors have worked hard to get each other in the proper position and mindset for those individual moments as well. Where a person is, how they react, what they are feeling and the tone they use with their speech are just part of what has gone on so we can get to this point: Full Dress Rehearsals. Today, we preview our coverage of Full Dress and what to expect going forward with our coverage of Above All.
What It's All Been For So Far
If we can get the core elements down and earn the trust of the directors before we head into Full Dress, it allows those in charge to focus on the bigger picture. If we are having to be positioned at the beginning of the scene in Full Dress or if a person’s tone of speech is being parsed, the big picture stuff get held up. How the scene is supposed to work as a whole doesn’t get the honest look it needs. It’s up to us as actors to have gotten a hold of the direction given to us by our director(s), but it’s also up to the director(s) to have paid attention and caught those things.
Continuing The Process
Don’t get me wrong, somebody is going to get a new stage position in Full Dress. Someone is going to be told to “feel it” more by Brother Keith. Someone is going to have to project their lines more or get their front in line. Those tweaks are a part of the process, but they shouldn’t be happening from zero. The out of position person should at least have been considered going in to Full Dress. The group who are having trouble expressing the gravity of the scene should have been identified and coached up. The person needing to project should have already been addressed and already working on improving. The last three weeks, our directors and cast have put that work in and we are ready to see the results. Whatever future tweaks must be made, we know that we have a good starting place. The cogs and sprockets are in place and we know they work. It’s just how tight they need to be coiled or loosened.
Another thing that will happen in Full Dress is each group will get a primary sub-director to help us lock down our placement in the scene and how we should operate. People will get moved around into different positions than they did in the previous practice. Their lines may be altered or at least how and where they deliver them in the scene. This is not to say that the previous practices were a waste. It’s just that as the scope of the whole becomes clearer, what once looked good in isolation scenes needs to be altered in the completed production.
The Full Picture Starts To Come Into View
Another thing that Full Dress allows is to see the full picture on display. So far, we’ve been doing mostly isolated scenes. We know little of the transitions, how much time exists between scenes, or where we are entering or exiting some scenes. This is common as most of these can’t be properly addressed until Full Dress starts. On Thursday, we’ll go through a bare bones walk through so we can understand exactly the time needed for these transitions, the proper placement during blackouts and where and when everyone needs to be. An entire evening dedicated to placement may not sound glamorous, but it’s absolutely necessary if we are going to be successful in these last days of practice.
These isolated practices have been like a living storyboard. They are vague representations of what will actually be presented when we get to the full production. In those isolated practices writers, directors, producers and actors have looked over, prayed about and (yes) argued how these scenes should be presented. Now that storyboard process is over. What we have now is the beginning of the masterpiece.
These Full Dress Rehearsals will start like a sketch with pencil. As we go along, permanence will take hold as scenes and ideas are agreed upon. That permanence will slowly be filled with the color of full bodied character work, properly placed props and set pieces that have the best feel, location and impact. We’ll have the full coverage of this process. It’s a very rewarding process, but also a frustrating one at times. You’ll get the honest assessment and how I am feeling throughout it. Expect recaps of each practice and what unique tweaks, changes and other items I notice and my thoughts on them and more. I’m excited to share this next chapter of Above All with you.
Look for our Podcast detailing more about this new chapter and other thoughts sometime tomorrow! Go here to get access to our past Podcasts.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.