Warming up for an Execution
I have the great honour of being, temporarily, part of an ensemble theatre company for a pretty special production.
“Mary Stuart” was written by the German poet, playwright and philosopher Friedrich Schiller around 1803, and while it is considered part of German classic theatre, it is rarely performed in English.
Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble have chosen to present this play with a very specific, brief rehearsal schedule. Two rehearsals a week, over three weeks, followed by 2 techs, and then four performances. This is something you can only do (well!) when you work with a team who have developed a shared vocabulary, shared ideology and shared aesthetic.
In this case, the entire company apart from myself have been working together for at least two years, and they have just finished a successful three week season of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Our director, Christina Koch, has been a member of the company since its inception around 8 years ago, and she brings with her a genuine and well-informed passion for the text in all its complexity.
I am thrilled to be part of this production. We open on Wednesday at 7.30 pm, and we are all – as far as I can tell – excited and terrified in equal measure. We have the privilege of sharing a good long warmup before each rehearsal, usually led by Christina, but sometimes on our own. It allows us to tune up our bodies, our voices and our brains, to spread our sounds throughout the space of the Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio, and to feel each other’s vibrations connecting us, literally, to our scene partners and to the story.
I hope to see you in the foyer after one of the performances. Costumes are minimal, so we don’t need long to come out and say hi.
What is your experience of working with classic texts? Share in the comments section below.