Early rehearsals are strange beasts. No one is familiar with the text, people haven’t quite sussed out their characters, and everyone is still feeling their way cautiously around the space.
But there are certain points when the stage adrenalin kicks in and the play comes to life, such as the first rehearsal in full costume and, in particular, the first rehearsal in front of an audience.
Stage adrenalin can, however, have unfortunate side effects. Some actors find it impossible to eat or drink anything on stage, while others gulp down their oddly Ribena-flavoured wine with abandon.
Sometimes small objects will no longer do as they’re told. In the last few rehearsals, I’ve sent a pen and a water bottle bouncing merrily across stage. And Anna managed to toss the key to her handcuffs into the (imaginary) audience.
When this happens, your only course of action is to try to retrieve the said object, in character, before it is next required. This being more challenging if your hands are cuffed under your knee…
At yesterday’s rehearsal for The Suspect, one of the playlets in NOT the Vagina Monologues, I was reminded of Boffle. The scripts often called for Hugh Laurie to be beaten up by Stephen Fry. Hugh has since said that Stephen was unfortunately rather bad at stage hitting, and would often just actually hit him.
In the FACE!
Ouch. And I can sympathise. During the ‘good cop, bad cop’ scene, Anna is meant to knock my hat off, but yesterday she somehow punched me full-on in the ear. It was still ringing for the next two scenes.
Help! This good cop routine doesn’t fool me!
Ah well, anything can happen in love and theatre. All is forgiven. This time. Just remember: at the end of The Suspect, I’m the only one who has the keys to the handcuffs… and we’ve still got two playlets left to go.