We asked DSF’s Titania, Caroline Crocker, to share her thoughts on the second week of rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Caroline recently received her MFA from the University of Delaware’s Professional Theatre Training Program.
Two weeks in, and the play is starting to take shape! Not long ago, our production of Midsummer existed only on the page and in our individual imaginations. Now we’ve been through at least the first round of staging for the entire play, and it is becoming a real, tangible thing – using ideas that we’ve all brought to the table, but also shaped in ways that we never would have thought of on our own. That’s one of my favorite things about the theater – we all have our parts, but it can’t really happen until we’re together. And it’s not truly complete until our final scene partners – you, the audience – come to join us, making it different every night. May be elementary theater stuff, but the magic of it still gets me every time.
In addition to the people working on Midsummer, the space plays a big part, too. Some of us have performed at Rockwood before, but even for DSF veterans, the configuration is completely new. The vocal and physical demands of performing outside, especially in a completely open area, are significant, and as we enter our third week, it feels like we’re starting to get the hang of it! Armed with plenty of sunscreen and bug spray (don’t forget yours when you come to see us!), we’re learning how to make the most of the beautiful space.
When asking about what we do as actors, one of the questions people pose most is, “How do you remember all those lines?” We all have various ways of doing that, and certainly it takes a lot of preparation, much of it before we ever begin rehearsals. Most of us would agree, though, that getting things “up on our feet” – in the space, with other actors and blocking – helps to get those words firmly into our brains and bodies. Imagine how much harder it would be to learn those words if you never actually got to get up and rehearse the role itself, or if you were learning multiple roles at once. That’s exactly what the brave folks in our apprentice company have been up to. We all try to stay healthy, safe, and strong, so we won’t miss a single performance, but if the unexpected should happen, the apprentices have every single role covered as understudies. In addition to the time they’ve spent in rehearsal for their own parts in the play (singing, dancing, and making us laugh as fairies and mechanicals), this week they have also been meeting for understudy “line-throughs” – so here’s a shout out to their hard work!