Rehearsal Log: Week 1

#ABLEcyrano is officially underway! Our whole team stepped back into rehearsals this week to get started on our next big classic play.

The excitement was palpable as our dance parties got started, and we channeled that into some enthusiastic warm ups. During check in, we shared what we are most looking forward to this semester and pretty much everyone was thrilled to be back together and to see their friends, learn new characters, and act in such a big, beautiful theatre


For our ensemble game this week, we played an old favorite: Elephant/Alligator. This game requires listening, teamwork, and a lot of focus. Everyone stands in a circle with one person in the center. They can point to anyone in the circle and say either "elephant" or "alligator". That person becomes the nose and the people standing on either side have to make either the elephant's ears or the alligator's eyes. We added an extra "nose" into the mix this time around. The pointer could also say "Cyrano" and the person in the center had to made a long pointy nose with the people on either side making his big hat.

Our goal for this week was to welcome each other back and to learn all of the characters in our adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac. (If you need a little brush up, check out this blog post from a few weeks ago). One at a time, actors came up to embody the various personality traits of our characters and help us get to know them better.

In A.B.L.E. shows, our ensemble members share roles, with each playing multiple characters. This gives everyone a chance to be "the lead" and to show their diverse skills. That means everyone has to get to know each character very well! It also means we have to help our audiences keep track of who is who. Each character has a signature costume piece (usually a hat or a scarf or something we can easily trade around backstage). This week we got used to the characters and their costume pieces with a game called Musical Characters. It works sort of like musical chairs - when the music stops, you hop to the nearest square, put on whatever costume piece you find there, and strike a pose as that character! Here's a timelapse of our Friday team in action:

And of course, Cyrano wouldn't be Cyrano without his nose! Each actor has his/her own prosthetic to play with during rehearsals. We'll work to customize these for each actor as rehearsals go on. Our Monday group had a lovely conversation after trying their noses on about what it feels like to have a big nose like that and how Cyrano might feel every day. We have such sensitive, thoughtful ensemble members!

We look forward to sharing more updates with you as rehearsals go on. Be sure to check back every Friday for rehearsal logs, and watch for other blog content throughout the semester including spotlights on our new facilitators, Shannon, Adele, Maddie, Emma, and Marcus! 

And remember, save the date for Thursday May 17th at 7pm to see us in action at The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater!