Day 11 - Thursday
Morning: traditional 9.30 start for the warm up, tiredness keeps me in bed until 9. There's been a noticeable change in my routine this week: lying in as late as possible has moved my breakfasts from the canteen to Maclab, and limited them to a croissant or bagel and coffee. I admire the people who get up at 6.30 to go running at 7 (yes! we have at least one of those). Then we have the final 2 hours of music preparation for the Lillian Alling chorus, with Les (conductor) joining us for the latter part of the session. He seems pleased, so fingers crossed for tonight's attempt at staging Scene 2. On a lighter note, he tells us a bit about Oakalla Prison Farm (where one of the chorus scenes is set): 'It was a terrible place, the inmates had to work 16-hour days, and only got one day off a week...' 'Oh, so it was a bit like this program?' (I should point out: I often say things because they're funny, not because they're true; I am thoroughly enjoying my stay here, and I'm not sure I'm getting that across in this blog)
Afternoon: I have to miss acting, because I'm scheduled for a coaching session on Money, O! for Friday's concert, and then a costume fitting for Cosi. Yet again I find myself contemplating a change of career...
Evening: staging Scene 2 (or as I call it: the scene from hell). It was everything I thought it would be. First an interesting group talk about the role of chorus in opera (to comment on the world and story being presented and by doing so to guide the audience's focus to the main protagonists' trials and tribulations), then the history of Ellis Island and the mindset of immigrants coming through there, what they had to lose, what they had to go through to get that far and then still risk being turned back... and how to reconcile that with quite optimistic and upbeat music. Then the blocking, and then going through it a couple of times and facing the harsh reality: singing off copy while standing still, and then trying to count out 5-, 7-, 3.5-, or 4-beat rests on your feet trying to inhabit a character, are... very different experiences. Well, our characters are what Kelly calls 'pleasers' - trying to get it right and apologetic and fearful of getting it wrong, so at least getting lost in the music fed into my acting very organically. In any case, it's not a bad start and these things take time to come together and work, so I'm not panicking. It'll be fantastic when we get it working.