We’ve begun rehearsals for Fully Committed, and we’re having a wonderful time!
This show is a wonderfully fun challenge. Aral Gribble, who’s doing excellent work, is great to work with – we’re having a great time. Still, a one-man show has a whole slew of interesting issues with which we have to deal. Not just a one-man show, but a one-man show where the actor plays about 40 roles!
First off, of course, is the challenge to make a whole slew of characters that are distinct, individual and fully realized. And, since there are no costume changes, it’s a very fun task! Fortunately, Aral is a flexible, versatile performer and we’re finding all of these people!
Secondly, it’d be easy to get wrapped up in the ‘bouncing-from-character-to-character’ aspect, and forget the whole point of doing the show: Telling The Story! Now, with every play that we do, we’re always conscious of telling the story – but with this particular show, I’m working to keep that in the very front of my mind throughout the rehearsals just a little harder than normal. It’s not just a “Watch the guy do all these characters” play; it’s also a great story about a young man who learns to stand up for himself. In order to help Aral with that, also, we’re doing some fun exercises like running chunks of the play with Aral performing Sam (the main character) and Erica (our Stage Manager) reading the other roles. This exercise is fun, because it lets Aral, and I, play with JUST Sam’s journey for a little bit. That’s an important thing, I think, because Sam is the guide – he’s the guy the audiences will follow through the play and root for. So, we’re making his journey the most important, and then trying to create a bunch of other fully fleshed out, but secondary, characters to create the world.
Third, just STAGING the show is a challenge. Lots of it takes place on the phone. Or intercom. So, keeping it visually interesting is something that I’m always trying to do. I’m a big fan of lots of movement, anyway, (especially in a 3/4 thrust setting, with audience on 3 sides), and I’m trying to keep this one active. There’s a fine line, however, between “keeping it active” and “moving just for movement’s sake” – that’s the challenge, right in a nutshell!
So – things are going well. We’ve grabbed the challenges and begun wrestling them to the ground. Aral is working his butt off (literally: he’s lost a few pounds already from doing this show!), but his work is paying off; we’ve gotten some excellent work done in the past few days, and I’m looking forward to our run-through of the show tomorrow.