With our stories plotted out, during this week's rehearsals we started shaping the group performance pieces that will open and close our show.
As usual, we kicked things off with some great dance parties and then moved to warm ups. Because rehearsals were focusing on music, we practiced some singing warm ups. We went around the circle and each person got to sing their name in whatever style they wanted (opera, pop, rap, country), and the rest of the group sang it back to them. Then Katie taught us a game where we counted up and down a scale - it was tricky but fun too!
After reviewing the schedule and checking in, it was time for our ensemble game. This week's ensemble game was an A.B.L.E. standby: Here to There! The game starts simply enough. Everyone starts on one side of the room (here), and walks to the other (there). But then we start to put different characterizations on it. For this week's game, we used concepts from our stories. Walk from Here to There like you're: brave, scared, embarrassed, in an enchanted forest, swimming, a fairy, a swordfighter, a dragon, a police officer, celebrating...and more! It was a great chance to practice some of the physicality we need for the performance.
Peter and Kendra joined classes this week to focus on music and movement. First up, we learned our group song "True Colors." This song has been around since Cyndi Lauper recorded it in the 80's, but most of our actors recognize it from Anna Kendrick & Justin Timberlake's cover for the movie Trolls. Because so many people were already familiar with it, it was easy to learn and start playing with dynamics and structure. Check out this video to hear the Monday ensemble working on a crescendo - going from piano (quiet) to forte (loud) - and back again:
From there, Kendra led us through some movement improvisations playing with some of the other big moments in our scenes. Our stories involve a parade, a road trip, a red carpet, a musical, and a haunted castle, and all of these elements will incorporate movement and music on the final performance.
We also played with a tableau that will open the play. Each of our characters, as with Cyrano de Bergerac, has something that other people make fun of them for. We thought about what it feels like to be embarrassed, and then how we can comfort each other and make each other feel good, It's hard to deal with some of these feelings - sadness, frustration, anger - are hard to deal with, but it's also important to recognize them and figure out what we can do about them. We'll keep working with partners and this idea of building each other up will serve as a throughline for the performance.
After a chatty check out discussing our favorite and least favorite moments from class, we rocked "I take from the heavens" (brilliantly led by Quincy on Friday and Ben on Monday) and we set home for some well-deserved rest.
During week 6, we'll be joined by guest artist Emma MacLean who will teach us a sign language interpretation of True Colors, and we'll start to cast and stage our stories.
Tickets are now available for our performance on December 2nd at 1pm at The Biograph. We hope you can join us and see our cast in action!