Saturday, 22 November 2008

first (and last) rehearsal

ah, what a joy to be back in the rehearsal room even if it IS a lecture hall at the education department on Robben Island. Today marks our third day on the island and first full day of rehearsal with the two actors who will be performing on monday.
first off, they have worked excellently with great focus, even though they have come into this project quite blindly. but they too jumped off the cliff, which is always a good sign of a talented actor.

and it was so nice to be there posing questions to them, discussing Shakespeare and knocking out something that may just resemble a performance on monday. i just love being there and playing again.

masie joined us on the island this afternoon. he will be here until late on monday evening - flying back to jo burg after the performance. again, things are coming together smoothly for our last few days in the southern hemisphere.

we spent the first part of the rehearsal working on four of the chosen shakespearian monolouges ('once more into the breach'(Kathrada), 'How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me (Andrew Mlangi),‘This heavy-headed revel east and west Makes us traduc’d and tax’d of other nations (Saths Cooper) & 'This above all-to thine own self be true' (Dingake)).

then we read a selection of interviews that david & i had quickly culled from the ones that we had transcribed, looking at common themes between the interviews & the Shakespearian text. it was frightenly easy & lucid.

then i quickly staged them as best and as simply as possible, reminding the actors that as long as the project & have good articulation, then let Shakespeare & the Comrades' words do the rest. there is very little need to 'add' anything else to these words.

tomorrow (sunday) is a day off. we will leave the island in the morning and will spend the afternoon at richard's home at a braai. then monday the performance and hopefully a further interview with kwede. tuesday, we hope to speak with eddie daniels & general sijake. then a 'going away (but not for the last time)' party at deidre's home. then bright and early start for an 8am flight HOME!!!!

i spent a few minutes sitting on the rock beach or robben island after finishing rehearsal. again, quoting my theatrical inspiration, i looked 'softly' all around me and tried not to look to 'hard' at anything. i saw beautiful things - from flocks of birds every few minutes 'cawing' and flying over me to the 'table cloth' covering table mountain. and a skelton of an unfortuate peguin who had a run-in with a former domestic turned wild cat(you see, the rabbits arent the first non-native animal attempted to be purged from this island, and, like the rabbits, some survived.... poor defenceless peguins).

i will miss this place both for its incredible political & social past, but also because of its quite beauty.