The Players began to learn their Dumb Show. (Though we will be missing on player for about a week, and another over the weekend.) So that was very productive. The two leads, though calling for lines more often than last night still seem to have a pretty good grasp on their lines and speeches. I myself, with one exception, remembered all of my lines, and feel that I am starting at last to bring an energy to Hamlet that I confess was lacking in previous rehearsals.
And that is the point, after all. If Hamlet, and for that matter any of the main characters from the source material are weak, it reflects badly on the whole show. The two leads have less to reflect on or react to if we who are playing the smaller roles give them less than our best. Those who know me and/or read this blog know that I have never allowed the background of a play to mean less than the foreground. The cliche of "no small parts" truly does have a basis in a very important truth.
There is still much work for me and everyone to do, but if I may be so bold I have to say I am taking to Hamlet quite well. I knew I would be adequate from the beginning, since I insist on working hard to do my best at any role, but I confess to feeling early on that I may not be able to give Hamlet as much personality as he and the play deserved. Not because of the smallness of the role, but because of it's fame. People are still going to have an idea of what to expect from Hamlet, even if it is in this play. (All of his lines are genuine Shakespeare.) Plus it was an abbreviated amount of time. I can't say I am exactly where I would want to be in a full scale production of "Hamlet", but I am starting to establish something that feels real to me while also being fair to the character. Perhaps my having read the play so often has been of greater benefit than I would have previously surmised.
I have to say that despite the excellent work of the two leads, I have not been watching much of what they do. I have read the script all the way through, so I know what happens and get the gist of what they are saying, but I am finding that by exposing myself as little as possible to what those actors are doing I am contributing to the sense of chasm between their two characters and my own. Or rather the chasm between the planes on which they exist, in this absurdest limbo of setting Stoppard has conjured up.
Tomorrow we run Act Three, wherein I have no official lines. Though now, as I mentioned a few posts ago, I will shout "pirates" while on stage. We will be running the pirate attack slapstick at full speed for the first time, so this should be interesting. Tomorrow will also be the final time we rehearse only a section of the play. All rehearsals after that will be of the entire play. I look forward to that of course.