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.