House Show II Rehearsals

Here is a record of our rehearsals for House Show II: Haunted, written and compiled by the members of the company (performers).

 

Since the company members for this show are all English-speakers, these reports are all compiled in English.

Rehearsal Report #23

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Location: Steep Slope Studios, Hinodecho
Attendance: Yinan, Robert, Roni, Andrew, Sarah

 

Today we had our LAST REHEARSAL before loading into the house this coming Monday. That also means 6 days “off”, although several of us are scurrying around getting other things done like finding props and costumes.

 

After working the Imp scenes for the first time, we did our first stumble-through today and found that it ran very short. Like probably under 45 minutes from the audience leaving the station to the end. Of course, we were in a studio, not in the house, so some things took a lot less time than they will in production, but still, it was a bit scary.

 

Then we went back and worked scenes one-by-one again.. not to tighten them up, but just to make them better. We did that for the rest of the day. We worked until late and then broke for some of the best curry any of us have ever eaten in Japan. Want to know where it was? Then come to the show and ask us.

 

Again, we didn’t take any photos or video during the rehearsal, so here is a photo of a happy baby:2013-07-26 19.20.49

Rehearsal Report #22

Location: Steep Slope Studios, Hinodecho
Attendance: Yinan, Robert, Roni, Andrew, Sarah

Another full day rehearsal at Steep Slope. We revisited scenes we did the day before and worked on the blocking and dialogue for scenes we hadn’t worked on much yet.

We also did some more technical stuff like making a props and set list. One of the great things about doing a show in a real house is that you don’t have to work too hard to establish setting. We also wrote out the dialogue for the beginning of the show. This part has a little bit of audience interaction (ooh!) so some of the cast played audience members and actors had to improvise in relation to what they came up with.

We left the rehearsal room with a slight whiff of onion in the air...

Exciting stuff!

 

[Andrew’s Note] Afterwards, we all went to the monthly GEKISALON at the Yokohama Sotetsu Gekijou to pitch the show to other independent Theatre groups. While there, we snapped this photo of all the YTG team in attendance:

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From left to right: Roni, Sarah Yinan, Andrew, Robert, Naoto, and Takahiko

Takahiko is a founding member of the ensemble, and is on haitus until 2014 to work on other projects.

Naoto is a brilliant artist who does the illustrations for most of YTG’s posters, and did the incredible poster design for this show.

Rehearsal Report #21

Location Steep Slope Studio Hinodecho, Yokohama
Attendance: Roni, Sarah, Yinan, Andrew, Robert
 
Today we had a full day rehearsal, in which we decided which characters we will play.
 
We will spend the next couple of days developing scenes and characters, before taking technical considerations into account during final rehearsals.
 
Personally, I found this to be a very productive session. Roni led us through a series of exercises to get comfortable with dialogue, as well as refine onstage movement and actions. When not practising scenes, we worked on scripting dialogue for characters.
 
The show is really starting to come together!

 

NOTE FROM ANDREW: We didn’t take any photos today, so here is a photo of a baby yawning.

20130709_063538_20130721222705532

Rehearsal Report #20

Location: Studio Field, Ikegami
Attendance: Roni, Yinan, Andrew, Robert, Sarah

 

So, on Thursday we had our final rehearsal in the Ikegami dance studio.

Hard at Work

Last rehearsal, we spent most of our time playing with scenes written on index cards and putting them in order. We also made a MUST / RESERVE list for extra scenes to use as transitions. At this rehearsal, in order to do at least some work on our feet, we worked on further developing two scenes.

Without going into much detail, since we’re getting to the point where saying too much could spoil the show to a certain degree, we’ve got three main stories and a fourth “relief” story. However, the third story, which is actually a reworking of a famous Japanese tale, is woefully underdeveloped when compared to the first two, so it was very nice when Sarah and Robert developed a very beautiful moment. I’m unsure of our ability to use it as-is, due to the architectural arrangement of our venue, but it’s certainly a great jumping off point and will likely stir up some great ideas. (It already has.)

Meanwhile, Yinan and I had another go at a scene which we’ve revised to fit into one of the other storylines, and I think we’ve created something interesting and dynamic that makes a good use of the space we will have available to us. We need to do more of this—taking advantage of the fact that we’re in a very interesting building.

After working on those scenes, we went back to our index cards and took another stab at running order and show structure. We’ve sadly let go of some scenes we really liked (including a great series of scenes we called “THE THREE TWO DOORS”), but the show will be stronger for it.

Our next rehearsal is on Sunday, July 21, and it will go ALL DAY. We’re all looking forward to doing some more development, I think. Well, I am, anyway.

Rehearsal Report #19

 

Location: Studio Field, Ikegami
Attendance: Roni, Yinan, Andrew, Robert, Sarah

Skeleton_diagramIn this rehearsal we put together the rough ‘skeleton’ of our show. It was satisfying to see it take some kind of shape, although there will certainly be changes between now and when the show goes up. We thought about the main stories we wanted to tell; those that had a few scenes to them, and in what order we wanted to tell them. We have several scenes that are moments or images that will be able to transition us from scene to scene, and soon we’ll figure out where these can go. The project is starting to take structure and we can begin to see what this show will be like. It’s an exciting phase in this process. 

Rehearsal Report #18

Rehearsal  #18
Location: House, Takata
Attendance: Andrew, Robert, Roni, Sarah, Yinan 
 
This felt to be a very productive rehearsal. It was great to explore some scenes in our actual venue, a
good opportunity to work out some of the kinks and practicalities we may face in the actual show.
 20130714_214303_20130715184306885
Without giving away too many plot details, we began with Sarah and Yinan's "Daisy" scene, in which
we practiced moving between different rooms, gauging audience perspective and timing. Using the
actual venue of the show presented some interesting considerations, in terms of lighting, timing and
reactions.
 
After this, we tried our "Three Doors" scenario. We worked well on this, rehearsing it three or four
times, quickly working out timings to make what seemed to be a smooth transition scene.
 
We also tried a "Chinese Ghost scene" which showed potential as a transition scene in our actual show.
 
It was very nice to have Roni back, who was able to provide some quick and useful feedback which
galvanised our scenes. Overall, I think we are feeling more confident about having a quality production
at the end of this process.

Rehearsal Report #17

Rehearsal #17 – July 9, 2013

Location: Studio Field, Ikegami
Attendance: Andrew, Yinan, Sarah 

 

Sarah ran the warm-up for this rehearsal. We invented a new rule that whoever misses a rehearsal report must also write the next one (and run the warm-up as well), but since I ran the warm-up last time, Sarah took it this time. If that doesn’t make sense, don’t worry, it’s not so important.

 

Robert’s on his honeymoon, so we won’t see him again until rehearsal #19, which will be held at the performance venue in Takata. So we’re continuing to expand existing scenes and ideas without him.

MVI_9168We spent most of the rehearsal working on the character Sarah developed of the vengeful ghost of a murdered girlfriend. We’ve started calling her ‘Daisy’ as a placeholder, which I take the blame for. We did a scene in which Daisy, posing as a cleaning lady, begins to torment her murderer’s new wife. We ran and recorded it multiple times as it developed. The question was always: how can it be clear that Daisy is a ghost and not just a crazy lady? I think we came up with some workable ideas for that.

 

For the last half-hour of the rehearsal, we worked on two other scenes:

1) A man coming home, and noticing a bad smell. He searches until he finds the source of that smell. (A human ear in his pocket.)

2) Another Yotsuya Kaidan moment, where the friend comes to seduce the disfigured wife, sees her face, tries to kill her, but can’t. So he shoves her into the bathroom to  see her face in the mirror.

Rehearsal Report #16

Location: Studio Field, Ikegami
Attendance: Andrew, Yinan, Sarah, Robert

MVI_9125The first scene we worked on was with all of us, exploring the scene in which characters must choose one of three doors to go through. They are all in a room with no recollection of how they got there and know nothing about what may lay behind each door. There is little time and each person must make a decision. We weren’t satisfied with this scene and brainstormed ways we might make it more effective.

Yinan and Andrew went to work on another version of the three doors idea while Robert and I worked on a scene in which a blinded person is guided to his death by a mysterious woman.

Andrew and I then worked on a scene based on the Yotsuya Kaidan story. A woman sits brushing her hair as her husband enters the room. She turns around to reveal her grotesquely transformed features, shocking the husband and causing him to leave immediately. The wife goes back to brushing her hair. We tried to use stylistic elements in this scene.

Yinan and Robert showed a rather abstract, non-verbal scene between a man and a woman, with one of them ending up getting stabbed by the other.

Andrew and Robert re-visited the cave monster scene, with the slight variation of Andrew appearing from behind and Robert given a context for his being in the cave.

Yinan explored the idea of a disturbed woman walking, babbling a Chinese nursery rhyme to herself. The effect was pretty creepy.

Andrew and I worked on the scene in which an imp makes a late night visit to a woman involved in his horrid past. The woman attempts to save her life by reading him a nursery rhyme she used to read to him when he was a child, however the imp is not convinced.

Another productive rehearsal, hopefully we can keep this up despite Robert being away next week. 

Rehearsal Report #15

Location: Studio Field, Ikegami
Attendance: Yinan, Robert, Sarah, Andrew

This was our first rehearsal of exploring some of the material we’ve generated. All the scenes we’ve made have been recorded on index cards, and from now on we’ll pick scenes we want to expand, condense or edit. What the Christ?

After some working time, the first scene shown was one with a phony psychic who visits the home of a man who suspects some supernatural activity. Time was spent working on the psychic character, working out her mannerisms and some key points of dialogue. We also worked out a basic structure for the scene.

The second scene shown was a man and his housekeeper. When the man leaves the room he hears the voice of his dead wife calling him. We see the housekeeper change into this woman. When he comes back into the room she has changed back to the housekeeper. Or maybe it was connected to the ring she was wearing? Yinan and Robert will have to tell us.

Rehearsal Report #14

REHEARSAL 14 – June 28, 2013

Location: Kamiooka Tea House 
Attendance: Sarah, Robert, Andrew, Yinan

 

Well, that’s it: our free-wheeling material generating rehearsals came to an end last Thursday, and Friday we met in the upstairs tatami room of the Kamiooka Tea House to review all 50+ pieces we’d created.

 

As per our rehearsal plan, I typed a title and description for each of them (later to be printed out on index cards), which we will start working with from the next rehearsal.

We’d actually generated a lot more material than we thought (and a lot more good material than I thought), and it took us nearly four hours to review it all. From next rehearsal (I’m actually typing this up on my way to rehearsal #15), we will start expanding the pieces that inspire us. This will hopefully lead us into discovering what the shape of the final show will be.

Rehearsal Report #13

REHEARSAL 13 - 27th June, 2013
Location: Studio Fields, Ikegami 
Attendance: Andrew, Robert, Sarah, Yinan

Robert's Ghost MusicThis was the last scenarios production session before our review session the next day. We started with the music pieces quickly after we are done with warm-up. Robert brought two ghost music recordings and played one on guitar. Andrew sang and played with guitar “That’s All I Asked You For”, followed by Sarah leading us to try musical “House that Jack Built”.

A few scenarios we tried out:

1) Robert’s piece about a women (Yinan) chained on the neck trying to get a brother and sister? (Andrew and Sarah). Andrew was unconscious and Sarah can’t move since she was restricted by something. By the time Yinan broke the chain, Sarah wake Andrew up and they fled.

2) Yinan’s piece about a fake policeman, but actual killer, checking to see if the neighbor is able to recognize him.

3) A married couple. The wife had an abortion but the husband thought it was a miscaring and blamed himself for it. The wife packed up and decided to sneak out and leave before the husband come back home. They met by the door. The husband is persuading her to stay. She felt guilty yet still wanted to leave.

4) Husband came back home and saw her wife’s face deformed—melting down. The wife is unaware of it and the husband decided to cover her face to death.

Rehearsal Report #12

REHEARSAL 12 - 25th June, 2013
 
Location: Studio Fields, Ikegami 
Attendance: Andrew, Robert, Sarah, Yinan
 The Imp on the Bed
This was a productive session. We did a quick warm-up and then split into two groups to work on different scenarios.

I was first paired with Andrew, while Sarah and Yinan formed another team. For our first scenario, Andrew and I were set in a shrinking room with three exits and had to decide which exit would set us free or damn us. Sarah and Yinan created a scene in which a woman (Sarah) tries to rescue what appears to be a trapped woman (Yinan) in a room. The trapped woman turns out to be a ghost, set free by exchanging places with the unknowing rescuer.
Necronomicon 
After this we switched partners to work on two more scenes. Andrew and Yinan presented a woman who must choose between life and loneliness, or a bleak afterlife with her partner. Sarah came up with a scene in which a monster is brought to life and kills by someone (unknowingly) reading a possessed book.
 
With our remaining rehearsal time Yinan and I presented two action-based monologues. Andrew and Sarah worked on a scene involving a juxtaposed couple and a missing wedding ring belonging to a dead relative.
 
For our next rehearsal, which is our last rehearsal before reviewing all our material so far, we will bring short snippets of music or song to add to the mix.

Rehearsal Report #11

REHEARSAL 11 – June 20, 2013

Location: Studio Field (in Ikegami)
Attendance: Sarah, Robert, Andrew

 
After the warm-up we jumped right into creating. We decided that this rehearsal, we’d try to split off into groups (in this case, of two and one) and create material on-the-fly rather than follow our previous model of the person with the scene idea essentially directing the scene.

When I Was A Boy

The first scene, assembled by Sarah and Robert, was about a man bringing over a girl to his house. His plan is to drug her and keep her locked away in a room upstairs.

The second scene, created by Andrew, was a rhyme about a boy who was taken away from his parents and turned into a monster by a cult, until he escaped and killed everyone.

The third scene, with Robert and Andrew, explored the idea of two people, one dead, and one alive, sharing the same space without realizing it. Due to changes made in the house since the dead character (Andrew) died, there were different areas accessible to each character.

The final scene of the evening was a monologue by Sarah about a murderous, jilted, lover.

 

We’re going to continue trying to work this way for next rehearsal, although we agreed to start simplifying our ideas and concentrating on what characters in our scenarios want rather than the writerly details of the scenes. Thinking back to the scenes that worked the best so far, that’s what they were like.

Rehearsal Report # 10

REHEARSAL 10 – June 18, 2013

Location: Studio Field (in Ikegami) 
Attendance: AndrewRobertSarahYinan

 

 

We added a new exercise to our warm-up repertoire this week. We are deflated balloons that inflate and float through space until one person pops us and we die a sudden death.Creatures

The first scene was a man in a cave (Robert) and a blind creature (Andrew). The man figures out the creature is blind so decides to stay completely still. The creature sniffs him out and susses out his potential prey before being distracted and leaving the man alone.

The next scene was a character building exercise led by Andrew. We created ghost/monster characters by slowly changing our physicality from our feet to our head. Yinan created a big, bloated creature, Robert was a club footed zombie and I was a  mangled, scorned woman.

The next scene was from Yinan which involved a man (Robert) moving into a new apartment. Sounds of a woman laughing from next door disturb his sleep.

Next we did a couple of short scenarios that Robert brought in. The first was a man (Andrew) coming home and finding a dead body (in the house). Before he can get out, the body starts to move. The second was a woman (Yinan) visiting a friend (Sarah). When the friend opens her door, she must convince the woman to go and get the police as there’s a killer in her house, standing right behind her.

 

A very productive rehearsal: I’m looking forward to making more material in the next few rehearsals.   

 

 

Rehearsal Report # 9

REHEARSAL 9 – June 13, 2013

Location: Studio Field (in Ikegami) 
Attendance: AndrewRobertSarahYinan

Yinan tried to lead the warm-up with Sarah and Andrew’s help for the first time. Instead of Monsters, Questions, and Ninja Fighting, we did Tags and added two new ones by Sarah and Robert. One involves counting numbers one-by-one consecutively which requires high concentration, and the other one is about memorizing movements acted by each one and repeat them all together in a roll. We decided to do the memory one backwards so we can reinforce new movement before re-starting from the very beginning one.

Robert and YinanWe began tonight’s rehearsal with Robert presenting his 2-mins “private in public”, waiting for trains on an empty platform on a rainy day. To add “hunted” into the development, Sarah played a ghost suddenly appearing in an empty train and walking bypass Robert. Yinan then presented her 2-mins procrastinating for paper due in a few hours, while anxiously expecting messages at midnight. Yinan could have showed a more intensive feeling about expecting something from phone, and manifest her location in a private bedroom.

Two scenarios,

1. The Cleaner (Sarah) seeing the Host’s (Andrew) Dead Wife (Yinan),

a) The cleaner met the host’s dead wife while the man is not at home. The cleaner found the wife’s wedding ring behind the air fresher with the wife’s direction. The host was surprised when the cleaner told about it and didn’t believe about it.

b) The host heard his wife calling him for dinner but couldn’t found her dead (10 years) wife after coming downstairs.

2. Yinan telling the story of wired and scary venting machine. Robert tries to gather information from her while comforting Yinan and hope she won’t get close to that hunted venting machine again.

3. Something is chasing me.

a) Yinan and Sarah played scenarios of something chasing and rushing into home. Both Yinan and Sarah were shocked and screamed when Robert shouts behind the door without notice. Breath when shocked is short and coming from the upper part of throat?

b) Sarah’s was extended with Robert being her roommate and not knowing what’s gong on.

c) Robert, roommate of Sarah being chased, had a sudden institution that if the monster gets Sarah, he will be safe.

Sarah is asked to bring things squeaky so we can add into plays. Yinan is asked to bring warm-up exercise.  

Rehearsal Report # 8

REHEARSAL 8 – June 11, 2013

Location: Studio Field (in Ikegami)
Attendance: Andrew, Robert, Sarah

 Possession
We began this rehearsal with Sarah presenting a scene illustrating two minutes of her private life. After some discussion, including the scene's motivation and objectives, Andrew added some developments linking it to our current "Haunted" theme.
 
After this, Sarah described a scene in which Andrew and I were isolated in solitary confinement before suddenly finding ourselves in a different environment and ultimately, confronting each other.
 
Our final scene for this rehearsal involved Andrew and Sarah presenting a couple going about their normal nightly routine, only to have one person gradually showing signs of possession, eventually to be found dead by their partner in the morning.
 
For our next rehearsal, we will continue with individual private presentations and group scenarios for our summer show.

Rehearsal Report # 7

REHEARSAL 7 – June 6, 2013

Location: Studio Field (in Ikegami)
Attendance: Andrew, Robert, Sarah, Yinan

Now the that summer ensemble has changed for the final time, we’ve adjusted the start time to an hour earlier.

I led the warm-up to give Sarah a break. As much as I love warm-ups, between two years of ensemble work and two years of teaching acting, I am kind of bored with running them.

We modified our warm-up exercises tonight. I changed mine to tag, because I felt we generally needed an infusion of kinesis; we dropped “questions” and added something else (maybe Sarah can remind me next time, I’ve forgotten); everything else stayed the same.

Because of email issues, Yinan didn’t get my email about how to prep for my part of tonight’s rehearsal (2 minutes of private time in public), so we’ve postponed that until next time. So Sarah started us off, then me, and then Robert.

VID00010-2The scenarios:

1. a) Two burglars show up at a rich man’s door pretending to be Jehovah’s Witnesses in order to case the joint. The man seems weirdly intent on letting them stay.

b) They return later that night to rob him, and he murders them.

 

2. A psychic comes in to do a reading of a man’s house because he is worried about ghosts. She is obviously a fraud, but there is a real ghost in the house. (photo)

 

3. A woman is caring for her boyfriend who is sick and unresponsive; her friend arrives to comfort her, but cannot see the sick man, who wakes up and begins to interact with the woman.

 

We talked briefly at the end of rehearsal about what was working and what wasn’t. So far, it seems that our favourite pieces have been simple (my scenario at rehearsal #4, Roni’s scenarios at rehearsal #3, etc.) and involved less explanatory chatting. We need to resist the urge, particularly in the scene, as performers, to try to be writers at the same time. We are in rehearsal, and it is not our job to tell the ‘audience’ anything; it’s just our job to be in the moment. I think we’re all still too worried about making coherent scenes, and it’s hurting our output.

I’m looking forward to next rehearsal, which promises to be more in-the-moment.

Rehearsal Report# 5 & 6

REHEARSAL 5 - May 31

Location: Kanagawa Earth Plaza
Attendance: Sarah, Robert

We discussed improv scenarios and rehearsal methods.

 

REHEARSAL 6 – June 3rd, 2013

Location: Kanagawa Earth Plaza, Ikegami Ballet Studio
Attendance: Andrew, Robert, Sarah, Yinan

Our group has sadly narrowed to four members; but on the bright side I feel we have a strong, committed group now. Together we’re delving deeper into the Haunted theme.

This rehearsal was our first time at the Ikegami space. It’s a beautiful studio, and maybe the cleanest rehearsal space I’ve seen. Ballerinas must be cleaner than theatre groups.

We started with a quick physical warm up and then went onto our set improvisation exercises.

I then tried out a ghost storytelling exercise with some spooky background music. First it was one word per person, which was perhaps a little too stilted, then we tried one sentence per person.

We then explored the following scenario:

  •   Andrew and I are simultaneously living in a house, but we think we’re living alone. We begin to have suspicions when objects consistently change places when we’re out of the house. One day, Andrew discovers me. In the tense altercation that follows, information arises that has us wondering who the other is, and whether they are human, or something else.

Following this, Andrew did an acting exercise:

  • Individually, each ensemble member enters a familiar space. We quickly realise that something is not right in the space. Something is, in fact, very wrong. As we stand frozen with fear, we feel a presence right behind us. Soon, this feeling disappears and things seem to go back to normal. Even so, we get out as fast as we can.

Rehearsal Report–# 2, 3, 4

We’ve been ploughing ahead with rehearsals since the 20th, and here’s the report. (I’ve taken the liberty of writing these third-person; sorry if that’s weird.)

REHEARSAL 2 – May 20, 2013

Location: Kamiooka Tea House
Attendance: Andrew, Roni, Sarah, Robert
Late: Mari
Absent: Jay

This was our presentation day. Sarah lead off and presented on the experience of solitary confinement. She used music, power point, and readings from prisoners’ writings about solitary confinement. Roni followed up on the clinical effects of solitary confinement.

Mari did a presentation on unwanted guests.

Robert and Andrew both covered the topic of ghost stories. They both touched on the Yotsuya Kaidan ghost story. Robert also recounted a true story of a man who discovered, after planting cameras in his apartment, that there was a woman living in his closet who would come out while he was at work, steal food, use the toilet and shower, clean up a little, and then go back into hiding.

Andrew talked about the types of ghosts in Japanese stories: Onryuu (revenge ghosts) being a particular focus.

 

REHEARSAL 3 – May 23, 2013

Location: Kanagawa Earth Plaza
Attendance: Andrew, Roni, Sarah, Robert
Absent: Mari & Jay

This was our first improv rehearsal, and everyone brought a couple of scenarios and improv exercises.

After warming up, we each demoed an acting exercise to the others. We’ve decided to keep this exact warm-up and exact exercises for the following rehearsals for the sake of simplicity.

We then proceeded to do several improv scenes.

1. Robert & Andrew try to kidnap Roni using the pretext of a package being delivered to her house.

2. Andrew, an agoraphobic, must be extracted from his room by Sarah.

3. Sarah wakes up somewhere and doesn’t know where she is or how she got there. She thinks Robert is a hallucination. He, in turn, is trying to help her out of wherever it is that they are.

 

REHEARSAL 4 – May 27, 2013

Location: Kanagawa Earth Plaza
Attendance: Andrew, Roni, Sarah, Robert, Christiane, Yinan
Absent: Mari & Jay
Guest: Michal

In this rehearsal, after warmup, we were filmed doing improvisation around the theme of “Fukushima”. We were all very careful, since we had no Japanese people in the group, and only two of us were actually in Japan in March, 2011. Most of the improv work was only linked thematically, although there were two scenes that touched more directly:

1. A tourist couple eating in a restaurant. The girlfriend didn’t want to eat food if she wasn’t 100% sure it didn’t come from Fukushima, and the boyfriend just wanted dinner. (As their secrets, the boyfriend wanted to propose over this expensive meal, and the girlfriend was pregnant. Secrets make great scenes.)

2. A couple were trying to decide whether or not to cancel their wedding due to the earthquake and the reluctance of certain guests to attend.

 

Who knows if Michal got any footage she could use. I think we all felt that we were just hitting our stride when we had to wrap things up (since the community centre was closing).

HS II: Rehearsal Report – #0 and #1

Posted by Andrew

 

Rehearsal #0 – May 9, 2013

The Yokohama Theatre Summer Ensemble met for the first time on May 9, 2013 at the rehearsal space near Kanagawa-Shinmachi.

 

Sarah and Mari are both old hands, Mari being a founding member of the ensemble and Sarah having joined at the time of the first House Show last fall.

Roni, our director on this project, started rehearsing with myself and Sarah this past winter.

Ayano is a former Takarazuka performer who we’ve been trying to recruit since the ensemble’s beginnings in 2011. I’m so happy that the scheduling finally worked out!

 

Our two 100% brand-spanking-new members are Jay and Robert. Jay’s got an acting background, and Robert is a musician. I (or someone else)

 

Sarah ran the warm-up, after which we moved on to some Viewpoints exercises run by Roni. The point of this rehearsal was simply to work with this combination of people for the first time before we started rehearsing the show directly. So far, the group seems to work quite well together, and I’m looking forward to the next 20+ rehearsals with them before the performances in August!

 

Rehearsal #1 – May 10, 2013

For this rehearsal, we met at the eventual show venue: a private home near Takata station. It was raining when we arrived, but it soon stopped, which allowed us to proceed with our original plan of warming up on the roof of the building (in the dark, of course, since it was already 20:00). The warm-up became an exploratory roaming on the roof: touching things, smelling things, exploring things. We slowly moved down and did the same thing with the rest of the space.

 

After spending probably 30 minutes touching the wallpaper, tapping tunes on metal railings, smelling carpets, and the like, we sat down and pulled out paper and markers. We each wrote down whatever came to mind as Roni rotated the paper.

Then, we each named one item that we felt strongly about, something that we could do research on or do a show about. It turned out that wasn’t enough, so we each got to add one more think (or vouch for one of the words already written down). We were kind of stuck for a few minutes, until Roni suggested one more round, and then one round of each choosing a topic we definitely didn’t want to spend 8+ weeks working on. The result was a bit messy (except for the handwriting, which, as it was Sarah’s, was quite nice):

Just to give you an idea, a circled word meant that people had named it again in a round after the first one. The more circles, the more times it was “vouched” for in this way. The squiggly lines were when people were pooh-pooh-ing potentials themes. Interestingly, these choices were quite polarized with 1980s, suburbia, and residue getting not just the most people liking them, but also the most people not liking them. The short list was any remaining idea that had more than one circle and no more than one squiggle.

 

We were left with:

  • Chores
  • Ghost Story
  • Unwanted Guests
  • Isolation
  • Time
  • Suburbia

 

Then we voted by kind-of secret ballot. Although, we all had different coloured markers at that point, which kind of defeated the purpose. What we ended up with:

 

Unwanted guests won, but not by a clear majority. Ghost story and isolation were tied, so we couldn’t have a run-off vote. We were at an impasse unless we could come up with a word that encompassed all three themes, or at least aspects of them. As you can see from the image, we decided on “Haunted”.

 

The connection to “Ghost Story” is obvious and literal; “Unwanted Guests”, like the smell of old fish, can be said to be haunting you;  and one who is isolated can be said to be haunted by something that has driven one into “Isolation”.

 

So, the next step was to come up with possible research topics for each aspect of this theme. We brain stormed a bunch, and we will all pick one to research before we meet again on May 20th. While we came up with a number of topics for each sub-theme, the idea is to work on one that connected with the theme “Haunted”.

And, so that’s where we are. A promising start.

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