The most interesting device she used as a director was giving one actor a secret direction to see how it would affect the other actors in the scene. Sometimes this involved asking an actor to forget their lines and to see how the others would cover for them. Another time, Ricky was instructed to respond to my entrance with "I'm sorry, can you give me that cue line again? You were indicating a lot, so if you could do it again better that would be great." instead of the line from the script. Needless to say, I was extremely confused, but wasn't sure how to deal with it other than to just start the scene again. He stopped the scene AGAIN in the same way, criticizing my delivery of his cue line. After the second time, Caroline explained that Ricky was NOT being an unprofessional actor, but was actually following her instructions. She wanted me to get a sense of the deflation my character experiences in that scene and had asked Ricky to respond that way to give me a real, visceral example. While it was always disorienting because you were never expecting it, these secret directions were a brilliant way to reveal problems or solutions in scenes.
The day before our presentation, Caroline had us rehearsing specific scenes, but reversing the roles. After interacting with your character played by a different actor, it was much easier to tell what you needed to give in your performance to make the scene successful.
The feedback that we received on this show was overwhelmingly better than the feedback we received for The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Rightfully so. Our professors actually laughed at the comedy this time around.
When I danced with Inlet Dance Theatre's Summer Dance Intensive last summer, Bill Wade taught us about analyzing goal achievement in four steps. D1 is the first stage when you are really excited about pursuing a new goal and you have a lot of energy for it. D2 is when your progress slows and you learn that there is much you never knew you didn't know about accomplishing your goal. D3 is when you break through the negativity of D2 and begin to receive positive reinforcement for your efforts. D4 is when that positive feedback becomes regular and you have achieved the goal. So far, our presentations have followed this process exactly. Here's hoping that our next show, Brecht's Trial of Lucullus, is really our D4! We had a brief meeting with Nick Hutchison who will be directing Trial after our show on Friday. Trial was initially a radio play and then a radio opera before being put onstage. Therefore, it requires a lot of singing. Stefan, our singing teacher/music director for the show, found a copy of the score but doesn't like it very much so they have decided to write new music for us for this project. I can't even believe it. We have ~9 days of rehearsal before this show goes into tech, but during that time we are going to be learning the whole show and original music. I am so excited. What a unique opportunity!