I went back to the rehearsal room on Wednesday week 3, excited to see another stage of the play’s evolution. It is now over halfway through the rehearsals and final days in the rehearsal room.
Death of a Salesman is a big play with a big cast and a big set. Sometimes while Sarah is working with some actors in the Rehearsal Room, Nickie the Assistant Director works with others in the Music Room. I have performed in a few short plays before and I found it difficult to memorise a long dialogue. It seemed to me that the actors have perfected the memorisation process.
The rehearsal starts at 10am sharp. The set is ready, and an outer wall has been added to the scene. Set and props help the essence of past captured and we are transported to a world that is very real. The lead actress is wearing a colourful 1930’s style dressing gown, which she says she likes very much. We discuss the material and the colours used in the textile.
Sarah gives instructions and sits on a chair on the right side of the room. She keeps changing her position according to the actors' positions on stage. The actors run through a scene. She allows them to find themselves in the space without interrupting them. I like how she directs them:
• I think you need to do this
• I liked the way you did it
Sometimes she asks them questions to bring their ideas to the table:
• Why did you walk that way?
• How do you feel about it?
• What did you find out from doing it?
• Why do you say that?
Sometimes the answers bring smile on our faces.
Performers amaze me with how quickly they respond and personify new ideas and physical shifts. They are a hundred percent committed to their roles. I am watching a whole process of creating a new reality. And it made me think of the Brecht famous quote: art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.
I keep taking notes and sometimes need to look up words using an online dictionary. I jot down Sarah’s notes and directions too. Now I have a small glossary of words and sentences which I am going to use in my future directions.
Looking forward to week 4. The stage manager’s programme has indicated that the rehearsals are going to take place on stage in the Module. I can’t wait to see the play in full, with tech elements incorporated into it.
Death of a Salesman runs 11 October - 17 November 2018, Theatre