Tonight was a small rehearsal.
Due to various conflicts and illnesses, I worked with a small number of principal actors. And we focused on small moments in the production. It’s the kind of fine detail work I love — but rarely have the time to explore when working with such a large cast.
For instance, there are three measures of music at the top of the Act I Finale which needed a little something to flesh them out. Similarly, there are four measures later in the Finale in which Ludwig and Lisa were merely crossing Stage Right, but the music calls for more flourish than mere walking.
We broke down the duet between the Duke and the Baroness and punctuated it into finely tuned individual beats rather than continuous unison motion. We also definied clear switches from pompousness to silliness throughout the number.
A scene between Ludwig and the Duke received a similarly detailed treatment. We established intricate beats and rhythms — and inserted a shaking-by-the-shoulders followed by a triple face slap — which vastly enhances the humor.
We then worked on amping up the showmanship of Ernest’s solo — realizing that energizing the face and hands is the key to properly selling the previously established footwork.
Small changes all around. But the difference is a Mighty one.