Last Week at La Ronde…

Oh, but last night I saw La Boite’s Hamlet! As if that were not enough to distract me from a little game of concentration here, there are the delightful sounds of much mirth to be heard, as I write, from The Garage (You haven’t missed a grand opening, no;  the rehearsal space to which I refer is actually our garage, sans vehicles. Sorry to disappoint and welcome to Independent Theatre on the Sunshine Coast)! So before I convince you, quite easily I’ll wager, that you must not miss this Hamlet, I’m going to try to focus for just a moment and do the La Ronde wrap up from last week before we begin this week (too late), as per the Director’s demands comments…

As we stand (or sit or languish across the chaise lounge) right now, we have 70% of the scenework (blocking) done and 80% of the script re-written to suit us. And it does suit. One of the priveleges of working in this fashion, the actors having substantial input into the development of the script and the scenework, is that we have been discussing and re-shaping each scene, adding or omitting words, lines, pauses…until we get the sense that it feels right. Until it feels real. At times, horrifyingly real. This is the place that, as an actor or director, one would hope to find oneself in at some point during any rehearsal period, regardless of which show it is! This place is about trust and instinct first and next, the confidence to go even further. At the moment there’s this feeling that we need to be running the rest of the way to the edge and jumping right off it! Several images come to mind.

Thelma and Louise: “Let’s keep goin’…..” (although, I never really could accept that committing suicide together in a flash of desperate inspiration – or something – was quite as empowering for women as the movie makers would have us believe). Still, it came to mind.

Finding Nemo: “DO YOU HAVE YOUR EXIT BUDDY?!” Many, many references in this clip but most notably, we all have our exit buddies. And look, in case you missed it, the whole knowing when they are ready conversation? Yep. You’ve got it now, haven’t you? Just as soon as I mentioned it, huh? It’s about Sam, isn’t it?

NINE: “GUIDO…………….” Ok, so if I’m completely honest, this is a little off-track but not really at all because HOW FREAKIN’ SENSATIONAL IS THIS PERFORMANCE?! It’s one of my faves. And I’m a Penelope fan from way back! Sorry, Pen…

…and thank you, Jane!

So anyway, I think we’re up to noting the rest of Sam’s points, with regard to last week’s rehearsals.

The set has been simplified, for various reasons, and mirrors added. The properties list has been revised.

The lighting and camera angles are to be reconsidered.

The soundscape is underway, thanks to the incredible talent, energy and enthusiasm of Ms Leah Barclay.

The roles of women are be explored and discussed further, in terms of the chasm between the original writing and our re-shaping of the text in order to deliberately show each of the women in a more powerful, independent, intelligent, sensitive/manipulative light. This is more with regard to the documentary, as the women playing the roles, are already finding all manner of ways to show the contrasts and conflicts of Woman. Jekyll and Hyde comes to mind (yes, the musical, of course)! Jekyll and Hyde is of course about the duality of Man (a note that was given, coincidentally, to Nathan tonight, with regard to his character, The Poet)…and WOMAN. The duality of woman, it seems to me, has only ever really been explored in terms of archetypes, something that Emily Macguire has explored, in her Princesses and Pornstars. However, let’s not look at the Lucy and Lisa characters here now, or at the archetypes in any detail yet, or we will be here until opening night!

This brings me to an intriguing note. The individual cast members have shown enormous attention to detail, in terms of their emotional investment in each scene and the development of their back stories. Everybody is getting comfortable now with who they are and what they need to do or who they need to become, in order to get what they want from their lover by the end of each scene.  It doesn’t always end nicely. It’s like real life, isn’t it? A situation doesn’t always go the way we’d planned. Sometimes, as my three year old will tell you, IT ENDS BAD. This should not be so intriguing, it should be absolutely expected, as good actors will invest emotionally and commit to their role. What is different about this show (and this process, I guess) is that everybody is moving at about the same pace, working around the same issues and resolving some conflicts and discomforts at each and every rehearsal. This is, in my experience, highly irregular, particularly in the context of a much larger show, involving more people and many more scheduled rehearsals requiring everybody’s attendance. In stark contrast, we are working in pairs, with the director and often, with the cameraman present. And that’s all. The intimacy and attention to detail perhaps allows a little more progress each week than we had come to expect. Now we are all spoilt and want nothing else but to work this way every time we decide to put on a show!

There are, of course, some things that will take a few more rehearsals to sort. Suddenly, as we start to remove items of clothing and get a little closer to one another, there is the rather significant matter of how one responds onstage to breasts and bits that might be exposed and/or aroused…a rather more significant issue perhaps for most of the men in this production. If it were all for porn, it would all be for the best…look, I will let you know how we are going with that one as it, er, comes up.

There have been various states of undress already. Not sure if the neighbours have noticed yet. There are a few costumes that are integral to the development of the scene, you know, whether we are taking things off or putting things on…..these things must be rehearsed, people!

La Ronde is R-Rated and a little risqué. Sunshine Coast audiences can certainly expect to feel confronted. Think Burlesque but expect a deeper look into human intent, emotion and deception. Think sophisticated entertainment with a razor sharp edge. Think dark and delicious new theatre, like nothing you’ve ever experienced. La Ronde will delight and disturb…

La Ronde opens at Noosa Arts Theatre on March 25th and the season continues March 26th, 27th and April 1st, 2nd, 3rd at 7:30pm and Sunday March 28th at 2pm

To book phone Stephen Moore – 07 5449 9343

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