Wednesday, December 3, 2014

And We're Off!

Picked this up at the Samuel French Bookstore in London.
We've been working hard on our lines, and we've had a few rehearsals, but December 1 was the start of a short, intense rehearsal period. We have about three weeks (plus tech) to make this happen. So I hope we've done our homework!  We have the play mostly blocked at this point. To take a sculpture metaphor, we have the shapes roughed out. Now it's time to repeat, repeat, repeat. Getting it ingrained in our bodies and minds, and slowly taking out a finer and finer tools to shape and round the performances.

I picked up this book and read some of it on my trip (through the part where they talk about The Caretaker) but I wonder how helpful it is. Even when he was directing his own work, Pinter was insistent that the work stand for itself. David Jones (an actor and director who played McCann in the first revival of The Birthday Party) asked Pinter for insight on his character, Pinter replied "I have no fucking idea. I know everything about McCann after he walks through that door. I know nothing about him on the other side."

So in a sense, learning more about Pinter and the circumstances of the writing of the play (it was, in fact, inspired by people he knew when he lived in a flat in Chiswick), doesn't really help. In fact, it may actually work against the purpose that Pinter brought to the play itself. I think I'll file it away as "interesting to know."

Luckily we have a great director and cast. At this point we're just remembering the words. But I know as we progress the shapes will emerge in finer detail from the stone.  They'll be his shapes, and hopefully ours too.

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