I realized at some point yesterday during rehearsal that my directing theory for this show is some kind of crazed, MTV-style madness. I seem possessed by some kind of ADD-affected tween that gets bored anytime no one's speaking onstage. I'm probably right to treat the play this way. Shakespeare's plays are all too long by today's theatrical standards and it's not just that they have too much going on and can't sum it all up quickly, the plays are actually padded, or at least feel padded. Things are repeated and superfluous sequences abound.
Yesterday I think I started to go a little nuts with the cast, and I am quite sure that they felt it. The problems, I think, began with Greg being a half-hour late again (he was in a car accident this time, so there was an excuse, but still... I can't work if you ain't there, buddy.) Dan was visibly frustrated and I feel so guilty about it. The guilt just fills me up: I am wasting this actor's time. I take responsibility for it and I ought to, I know. But getting twenty people to be on time to a rehearsal is damn near impossible, I find, if one is not paying the actors. They just have no reason to allow extra time or leave early to make sure they're there. So Dan is frustrated and I feel guilty and helpless and frustrated too, but there really is nothing to be done.
So I work on Dan's scenes (the ones without Greg), but even that is silly. Dan and Ashley are the actors who are doing the best work in the show. They are not the ones who need extra rehearsal. I mean, we can keep rehearsing that stuff, but we've gone over that stuff the most of anything, and the two of them are near pitch-perfect as it is. Zuriel was out sick again, too.
Then we get to Act Two and the actors start fucking up the blocking. The reason it's blocked is because these actors can't seem to block themselves. So of course, I am looking at an absolute mess onstage. Because if they're not doing my blocking, that means that they are not doing any blocking. They don't know how. So I have seven actors just standing on stage talking to one another, some of them still with books in hand. It can be a little frustrating. It got even worse when it was only Brittney and Mike on stage. They completely fucked up their first meeting scene: a scene we blocked carefully and specifically. I know that I need to be a little patient with Michael, seeing as how he's only been doing this two weeks and everybody else has been here four, but last night patience wasn't easy to come by. After rehearsal, Mike and I stayed and talked about character for a long time. Then we worked on a few of his monologues. He is well aware that I want him to memorize his lines, like, yesterday. And he will, I hope, soon.
We still, naturally, do not have a Vincentio. We still have a piano onstage. But John didn't give me any notes yesterday, and for that I was grateful.