by Lansia Wann
Today is day two of rehearsals and things are coming along pretty well I hear! Ever wonder what goes on behind closed doors at rehearsal? Well, local actress Anne Brings, who plays Belle, spoke with me a little about the first day of rehearsals for Perpetual Girl and already, I sense there’s a great forward momentum.
So, since this is a theatre blog and we are talking script readings, shall I set the scene for you? Picture a small group of actors, a writer and a director sitting in the middle of a playfully stark university classroom at the basement level of the PTC building. It’s playful because it’s part of the theatre, but stark because that’s what most campus rooms are like, isn’t it? They are seated with their scripts in front of them running lines at turn while being carefully watched, listened to, judged and criticized. Okay, okay, this very Edgar Allan Poe setting I see in my head may not be what it really looks like but I just imagine it this way for dramatic flair. Anyway…
“We had a lot of fun,” Anne tells me. “It’s different to hear it out loud than to read it – I benefit a lot more when I get to hear it aloud and when everybody is in the room.” So what happened? Well, Anne pointed out two specific examples of how exciting and elemental these Play-by-Play readings can be…
During a moment of reading the first scene, Anne recalls director Julie Kramer stopping her mid-scene to reflect and reassess her character. It’s a scene between the main character Belle, whom Anne plays, and her good friend Jack, as they drink, laugh, and one-up each other with their awful acting roles and auditions. “It’s really funny,” Anne mentions to me. However, Julie suggested a different point of view to her.
Belle came to Los Angeles to become a serious actor yet she’s been playing a lot of dead bodies. “Seriously think about that – how embarrassing it would be to see yourself splayed on top of a car, your clothes are ripped, and you’re probably in a skimpy outfit because you’re a woman,” Anne tells me as she paraphrases what Julie said to her. And, yep, sure enough, that point of view certainly changed the tone of things. Belle, although seemingly having a great time with her friend Jack, had a lot more going on than this drunken guise she put forward. Anne reflected to me, “It would be so disheartening to say that – yeah, I play dead bodies.” “That’s the strength of a creative director – they can pull more out of me,” Anne tells me. This was a characteristic example of how each rehearsal changes the play from day to day.
At the first reading, Anne also told me she was completely taken aback by the way another actor portrayed his part. It was different from what she envisioned while reading the script by herself. Scott Smith, who plays old Jack, brought her to tears during the read of the second act – a more serious scene where Belle and Jack examine their relationship. Am I giving too much away? I’ll reel it back a little. “I couldn’t even believe it – feeling a little teary, feeling a little emotional,” Anne says. “It’s more poignant when you get to have that conversation with somebody; some of the lines just hit me so much harder.” And this was a great example of how exciting rehearsals are at the Play-by-Play readings.
There it is – a sneak peak of into the inner-workings of Perpetual Girl. What about now? Are you intrigued now? Tickets are still on sale! Join us for three separate, and possibly very different, stage performances of Perpetual Girl!