Rehearsing Original – week 2

Hello Internet, today is Saturday, November 17th, and we’ve been getting some weather.

Winterton beach

A week ago today, my husband and I went for a walk to a little beach, which a) is something we both like to do, and b) gave me the opportunity to do a bit of scrounging for the set. And while we were there, it started to snow.

It was kind of a perfect moment. The air was still (relatively speaking… this is Newfoundland, after all). The waves were rolling in, gently. I had a bag of small things and we were looking around for beach glass. And then big, soft flakes started to fall.

When we got back to the house, we started a fire in our backyard fire pit and there was a ring around the fire where the snow couldn’t stick to the ground.

The snow turned to rain that night, and since then we’ve been getting all the seasons. On Wednesday, for instance, we woke up to wet snow, and then it warmed up to 10 degrees. While we were in the rehearsal hall that day, we had new weather every time we looked out the window. At one point, mid-monologue, I totally lost my words because I glanced outside and there was a blowing snowstorm going on, and I was pretty sure that it had been sunny and way too warm for snow 5 minutes earlier.

The biggest wind storm on earth was in Newfoundland Wednesday evening and Thursday. Extremely tall waves. There was an emergency landing at Stephenville airport. Some worry about the workers on the offshore oil rigs. The Coast Guard was out in it.

Wind gusts up to 160km/hr in places. The power went out in parts of the city. And last night St. John’s had what might be the first proper snowfall of the season.

Luckily, the lights stayed on at the Arts & Culture Centre, nobody in our production community lost their roofs or siding, and we were able to work in a big room with a window from whence we could safely watch the drama going on outside.

I mentioned in this blog last week that the elements (water, air, earth, fire) have a big part to play in the script for Original, and I feel as though the blowing wind has found its way into my bones after this week. The way that the elements all impact one another – and everything living in the world – has been seeming to me to be a clearer and clearer truth. The wind on the water, here in my home. The wind on the fire in California, of course, where yesterday the number of missing people jumped to over 1,000. The waves breaking against rock and the way earthquakes cause tsunamis. It’s in the text I’m speaking every day, and it’s happening just outside our rehearsal room window.

This week we started putting the show on its feet and discovered that I know more of it than I expected to – and then we discovered that we didn’t want to work with book in hand. So we spent a lot of time getting me off-book and then standing me up immediately. Every rehearsal day begins with a very thorough physical and vocal warm up and a period of time for me to spend in mask work. I am extremely lucky to be in a process where this is part of my rehearsal day, and not homework, which means that I can rest after rehearsal and put the show away for a few hours before bed. The overall benefit to my health is very clear, just from being able to take a real break.

Yesterday afternoon we were able to do a full off-book stumble through for most of the team, which is a pretty great way to cap off a good week of work. We have a day of rest, today, and then one more week of studio work before we move into the theatre. The elements are doing snow and fog today: a tiny respite from the wind, perhaps, so we can take a few deep, calm breaths before we dive back in.

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Original plays November 28-December 2. Tickets available here.