(This post is by Bridget St. John, BMC class of 2017.)
The initial check-ins included words like mess, scattered, wasted (meant to be rested), early, nervous, angry, late, hopeless, distraught, sad, tense, anxious, and Coke tea. We were able to push through this energy and accomplish a lot today!
Beginning with a reflection, we continued to expand the God’s spy character toolbox. Where has your character been? What has she seen?
Moving upstairs, we started to play with the shift between the world of Lear and the God’s spies. What are the ways in which your spy informs your Lear character? People began to make very interesting choices by switching seats, calling others over to them, and deciding to stand (on the table or just from their seat). Each shift, glance, head turn, and other minor movements become magnified at the table. Alliances become clear, and I personally really started to feel the tension of this first scene.
(This post is by Adriana Nocco, BMC class of 2016.)
We started our meeting with a check-in (in which Mark coined the word “frumple-jumpled”) and a discussion about the gear we will need to outfit ourselves for our Iceland trip. I can’t believe it’s only two weeks away!
Next, we laid down flat on our backs and conducted a meditation exercise in order to get in touch with our God’s spy character identities (exploring/observing landscapes, situations, etc. in our minds as God’s spies). Mark guided us as we explored the super privileged worldviews of our God’s spy characters, and at one point, read King Lear’s “God’s spies” speech to us as we meditated for inspiration.
Lastly, we relocated to the Teaching Theater to work at our table, a.k.a. the place where God’s spies meet once a year to discuss our observations and perform. We were assigned specific seats at the table for the first time, and got to work with microphones as well (handheld, mostly on stands). We worked on transitioning between our God’s spy characters and our Lear characters (“leaning into” the different types of characters at specific moments of our choosing), and also worked on building telepathic connections. In order to expand our God’s spy toolbox, we played with eye contact and movement, played the “chair game” out in the Atrium at one point, and did our best to remain open and focused.
I have provided a picture I took from the point of view of my chair at the table, and a picture of the text from Lear interspersed with “God’s spy prayers” (formed from Lear dialogue). We explored and worked with saying these prayers in the first sphere as Lear and Kent argue during the first scene of the play.
Today’s scene work was broken up into six separate hour-long parts with different cast members. For the first two hours, Miciah, Roz, Catharine, and Cathy worked on pages 5-8 (in which Lear divides up the kingdom, Goneril and Regan pronounce their love, and Cordelia announces she has “nothing” to say). We played around with given circumstances and even set the scene in a nursing home, which added a gentle intimacy to the tone and made Cordelia extremely unsympathetic. We worked on creating very pregnant pauses through Cordelia and Lear’s “nothing”s and discussed how Goneril is an haute-couture wearing gal who knows how to get what she wants. Further, we touched upon the beginnings of assigning actions, such as adding “to caress Lear” and “to honey Lear,” to Goneril’s love-professing monologue.
For the next hour, we worked on pages 26-30 in which the Fool and Lear banter and Goneril reprimands Lear for not taming his “insolent retinue” (28). Roz sang some of her lines to “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and Catharine and Mark scored professor points for being clever. All around, productive and fun time. Happy Valentine’s Day, folks!
Today in rehearsal we had our first taste of playing in the space–a luxury to have so early in the rehearsal process.
We are seated around what is probably the largest dinner table any of us have ever eaten at. It is grand, it is epic, it is intimidating. Every shift, glance, seat choice (or assignment) feels like it could be a political move. Be careful which dinner fork you use….
We played around with the scale of this table, noting the effects of what happens when one, two, or many bodies stand on top of the table itself (hint: it becomes a lot like a stage!). We created tableaus by placing our bodies (or pieces of metal) into the space, one person at a time. How can you best build an image off of what someone else laid out before you? How does story begin to form itself? What happens when someone breaks the rules?