Christmas Carol Chronicles, Part VI

We did our first stumble through of the show yesterday, patching together blocking work we had done over five rehearsals.  In very rare fashion, we did the theatrical rite of passage, not in the rehearsal hall but on the actual deck.  Director Jacqueline Russell managed to negotiate this precious time for us as the run for lights will also be taking place in this space in a couple of days.

Kim Nolan plays Jacob Marley. He is doing a brilliant job with this very frightful apparition.

Scrawled in the margins of my script are dozens and dozens of blocking notes and drawings, some that make perfect sense, others that left me wondering where to go next as we worked our way through the show.  It was far from perfect, but it was also far from awful.  I always forget how valuable it is to get through the show for the first time.  Suddenly the fog of the story begins to lift.  Bland and formless blobs take shape, gain colour and clarity.

Camryn Hannigan and Alysa Beaton are two new members of the company, playing Martha and Fan respectively. Both are bringing lots of energy and ideas to the production.

"Being able to move through this space and the show was so valuable," I shared with the cast during the notes session at the end of the day.  "This is one of the toughest parts I've ever played.  Scrooge is a turbulent and complicated river. The character is beginning to move from my head into my heart thanks to the energy of all of you."

Bryan Reed plays Tiny Tim and Turkey Boy.  For such a small package he exudes a big presence on the stage. 

"You need to write that down," said Bryan Reed, playing Tiny Tim and Turkey Boy in rep with Emily Beauchesne.  "Then put it in your blog!"

Thanks for the suggestion Bryan.

Hanna Fridhed is another new member of the company, playing Young Scrooge's love interest, Belle. She is a delight to work with, always sharing a big, bright smile.

The crucible - as I like to call the Keyano Theatre space - is as warm and inviting as it is large and ominous.  Small voices carry to the first few rows, but not far beyond.  Getting a sense of the energy and oomph you need to give to the words is a very important part of the process.  Jacqueline did a great exercise to close the day of having small groupings do their scenes while everyone else was seated in the very last row.  In this very visceral way, the enormity of the space became more clear.

Mark Armstrong plays Fred.  With a mellifluous broadcasting voice, Mark has jumped right in and is doing a great job.

The other things that are happening through all of these rehearsals is that our respective vocal muscles are strengthening, our ears are become more attuned to what is happening around us, and our bodies are finding their rhythm and form to align with our characters.  My voice is still raw by the end of a long day like we had yesterday, but less so than it was when we started.

Stephen Cantwell is a natural as Fezziwig.  He bring great enthusiasm and heart to the process.

I'm looking forward to being free of the script.  It is quickly become an impediment to the process.   With some focused work over the next few days, I should be able to make significant progress in this regard.  Many of the cast are off book already; I look forward to catching up to them.

Melissa Mitchell is our wardrobe goddess.  She is in the process of dressing 24 of us in period garb from the mid-1800s, and she does it with great patience and skill.

Meanwhile, our technical team is hard at work building set pieces, costumes, and special effects that will elevate the story and propel Mr. Scrooge through the past, the present and the future...the past, the present and the future...


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