A young(ish) opera singer's random thoughts and observations.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Bring me my Broadsword and clear understanding! *

Day 18 - Thursday

Morning: movement at 10am, having missed yesterday's session I find it difficult to get into the groove of the final exercise Tania sets us (choreographing a sequence in pairs, but unfortunately I get assigned to a threesome, switching into pairs, so get less time to get a feel for it). However the warm up beforehand was much appreciated. We then have to run off to another building for a chorus music call, before running back to the movement studio for a session with J-P Fournier on stage combat! What a thrill: we get to practise with knives and broadswords! It's only a small taster, as we have an hour for a dozen or so people, but I'm allowed to film the most useful stuff: chokes and slaps. I wish we did this kind of stuff in college, because even in the profession you don't always get a fight director (although you should if there's any of that kind of malarkey going on), and as J-P says: theatre directors think they can choreograph fight scenes, but usually they haven't a clue. And I will say, just an hour with him has changed many of my ideas about the rules in stage combat, and I've been in a few contact scenes before...


Afternoon: we work through Act 2 chorus scenes for Cosi, with some input from David Agler, then it's off to acting, where apart from a stimulating massage and a few games, we take a look at how given circumstances and objectives change the story we tell. Chris divides us into pairs and gives us all the same banal dialogue (Hi / Hello / How are you? / How was your weekend? / Fun, and yours? / etc), but gives each pair a different set of given circumstances (anything from a recent breakup, through suspicion of marital infidelity, to two sisters dealing with an attempted suicide). The same texts tells a completely different story every time.


We finish slightly earlier than usual, so Aaron and myself take the opportunity to have a look at our recit, and are joined by the girls to go through the quintets and sextet. I sometimes think this manic schedule we have here stems from the organisers not trusting our young selves to do anything constructive with our free time. I think they underestimate our drive, if we were given a bit more time, we'd be able to do more individual work on our music, blocking, or notes that we're given. As it is, we rarely have the energy to put in extra work outside scheduled rehearsals, which is a bit of a shame.

Evening: it says 'clog dancing' on the schedule, but what it really is, is Tania and the chorus trying to decipher choreography for the Norwegian scene (a barn dance in North Dakota) from a DVD of the original Vancouver performance of Lillian Alling. It goes quite smoothly, with a lot of helpful input from our resident folk dance expert, Catriona. We are then asked to transfer it from the movement studio to the stage, and as a reward for our hard work Kelly lets us go earlier than usual. Never has a drink been more deserved, but first: laundry (it's important to have priorities).

* Broadsword by Jethro Tull (great song, even better album)

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