Caminando with the RSC: The siege on Huexotla
June 8, 2012
Second week. Maybe this is too English, but what a nice weather we had, the sun was shining, people were always on the streets and the whole town came to life.
Which brings me to another nice custom they have over here, meeting in the pub after the performances. I really liked meeting the company after their performances, in Mexico we don't usually have pubs or restaurants so close to the theatre, so you might go to dinner with friends, but there is no meeting point were the audience can talk to you as well if they want to.
But, back to work, we slowed down with movement but we continued Boot Camp for training every morning. A lot of changes were done to the play during the weekend, and Luis Mario and Gary Owen were working round the clock to have the scenes on time.
Maybe I should explain the process: Luis Mario wrote in Spanish, then our Assistant Director Luke Kernaghan translated it to English, and than Gary worked on it to give it a sense in English.
That said, we were getting the translations just before the rehearsals, knowing that some of it might change after it passed through Gary's hands. Still we had to move forward and start blocking.
In Mexico when we start blocking, at least in our company, we usually have worked a long time with the text doing table work (rehearsals in Mexico can sometimes take more than 12 weeks), so at this stage of the process we know it by heart.
Here we did it script in hand, which gives you other things, since you're integrating the text with the movement.One might argue for one way of doing things or the other: when you are doing table work you are taking acting choices that involve mainly the mind, the decisions are conscious and more determined and sometimes it can be hard to translate that into the body, but you can also get a deeper insight into what is going on in the scene. I guess it is a directors' choice, and a time issue.
The point is we started blocking, I was amazed how easily some of the actors got into their parts, how it came to life so quickly. Better to ride the horse and not get left behind we say in Mexico.
We Mexicans also had a few sessions with Stephen Kemble. In private we would each work with our breathing, on a particular piece of text, working on our placement of the tongue and delivery of the lines. We had two big group sessions in which he explained to us some basic principles of the Linklater method.
The session we all enjoyed the most was the one we had in the Swan theatre, were he guided our voice through every corner of the space. It was such an amazing experience to finally stand there and feel how the theatre embraced you.
And on Sunday, David Fielder, who is playing Huexotla, invited us to his house and made a very nice lunch for all the company. We sat in his garden on the Avon's bank, and had scallops, cheeses, gazpacho and Pimms. It was a nice afternoon where we got to bond and just know a bit more of each other. That was the siege of Huexotla.
by Andres Weiss
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