…tell me how much.
Sometimes the first day of rehearsal can feel like the first day of school. You get to meet a lot of new people. You hope you like them. You hope they like you! You hope the people in charge inspire you. You hope you do well and have fun and everything gets off to a good start. The world is full of possibilities, some of them golden and bright, and you hope those are the ones that materialize.
I had dinner with a dear friend this evening, a talented actress, and she pointed out how useful it is that actors tend to be very good at the first day. They excel at diving in, forging bonds swiftly, going fearlessly in the direction of trust. Company. Ensemble. These words that mean together, in the same place, working towards a common goal: these are the actor’s conscious and immediate need. Due to the financial pressures on professional American theatre, we often have short rehearsal processes: for Antony & Cleopatra, today was our first rehearsal, and we have 30 days between us and an audience. For ANTONY & CLEOPATRA. That’s shocking, right? Shakespeare’s fifth-longest play, clocking in at 3,573 lines. A play whose action leaps from Egypt to Rome to Greece, spans roughly ten years of history, features multiple battles on land and at sea, and tracks a passionate and legendary love affair in the midst of the political and military maneuvers that lead to the rise of Rome, the fall of Egypt, and the end of 3000 years of Pharoah. Thirty days ain’t much.
With the right crew, though, it might suffice.
So wait–what about the rehearsal?
Ohhhh, right. The subject of this post. Our first day of rehearsal was totally exciting! “Signs point to yes,” says my magic 8-ball. It’s always about the people in the room, and I’m frankly thrilled about these people. It was a really good first day and I can’t wait for tomorrow. So I think maybe it is love…But let’s not say any more, lest we jinx a good beginning with too much early talk.
Cleopatra: If it be love indeed, tell me how much.
Antony: There’s beggary in the love that can be reckoned.
Cleopatra: I’ll set a bourn how far to be beloved.
Antony: Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.