Another Review…

http://cvnc.org/article.cfm?articleId=7342

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First Review!

http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2015/03/durham-savoyards-performance-of-utopia-limited-captivates-queen-victoria-and-her-subjects/

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And we’re up and running!

Ten days since my last post and a lot has happened.  Everything has happened!

We’ve worked out problems, added additional blocking/choreography, moved the set into the theater, rehearsed with full orchestra, added costumes, added props, added lighting, added hair and make-up.  We’ve made even more changes.  We’ve made discoveries and innovations. And we’ve continued to bring more sharpness, clarity, and precision to every aspect of our production.

And, as of last night, we’ve had our first preview performance.  And it went very well.  Our audience was receptive to this seldom-produced work and eager to hear the music and to follow the story.

There are only three performances left and we hope you can join us for one of them at the Carolina Theater!

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All Together!

Tonight we ran all the ensemble numbers in Act I — firming up some cues and adding some business here and there.

It was good to have the entire cast all in the same room and focused on the same thing for the first time in a long time.  Rehearsals can be rather scattered because of scheduling conflicts and last minute emergencies.  But now we’re finally starting to come together into a unified and cohesive whole.

There was good strong work tonight.  Questions were asked, problems were solved and much progress was made. Things are in good shape.  The key now is to be confident in the work and to find a way to relax into it… and to have fun!

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Words and Bodies

The cast has been drilling music and choreography for the past several weeks.  So tonight we focused on scene and character work.  I know it’s an operetta, and is almost entirely sung, but there are still some scenes sprinkled amongst the songs — and these needed to be revisited.

The staging of the scenes was set weeks ago, but tonight we took the time to reassess the work and to firm things up a bit.

Physicality is something that has always fascinated me in performance. Clarity of movement and the power of stillness are high on my list of an actor’s tools.  We addressed both of these physical qualities, tweaked a few characterizations, and focused individual intent and overall storytelling.  We worked on eye-contact, connection, timing, relationships, vocal variation, and complexity of character.

And voila! What was good is now better.

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A month and a half in and a month and a half to go

We’re almost a month and a half into rehearsals for “Utopia Limited” and we still have about a month and a half to go until opening night on March 26th.

I’ve spent these first weeks creating rough staging and choreography for the entire show. At this point in time everyone in the cast should know when and where to enter and when and where to exit. They should also have a good idea of what to do during their time onstage, including some nifty little bits of blocking and choreography.

I call this the “big strokes” phase of rehearsal. Scripts are still in hand because lines, lyrics, blocking, and dance steps aren’t yet committed to memory. We’ll work in this phase for a bit as the words, music, and movements all come together. And then we’ll re-visit the entire show with a much smaller brush — creating intricacies and nuances, expanding upon what’s currently working, ditching what isn’t quite right, and feeling our way forward toward a well-tuned and thought-out performance.

I’ll try to keep you posted along the way.

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BOOM!

Now that’s how you preview a show! Wonderful work from cast and crew; fantastic audience response; and just enough went awry to keep everyone on their toes. Official opening night of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Sorcerer” is Friday Night.  Performances continue Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. And then that’s it.

Get your tickets now or you’ll regret it.

I’m tellin’ ya: Downton Abbey, Walking Dead, and a hint of Michael Jackson’s Thriller — all topsey-turveyed up, wrapped in an operatic bow and presented to you with a full-on orchestra.

Did I say “boom?” Boom!

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