Monday 8th May 2017 – Dogfight rehearsal

Tom and I met again today to continue the work we had been doing on our song ‘Come to a Party’ with the backing track and also started to think about how we wished to stage and block the song. We started the rehearsal by running it through once with the backing track without stopping so we could see how much we remembered regarding timings from last week and also highlight the areas that we were struggling with and would need the most work. As expected this quickly fell apart as we still were not completely used to the track and hadn’t visited it over the weekend; however we quickly got back on track and remembered the moments where we needed to hold back and not rush the timing and also the points where there wasn’t enough time to fit in certain lines of dialogue. One of these being just before Tom sings the verse “Born in Shepard’s Bush to humble christian folks”, but there isn’t enough time to fit the spoken line in before hand and therefore he always ends up missing the first half of the line. While he managed to fix this for some of attempts, it wasn’t always consistent which worried me as we can’t afford to miss the start of the verse and we run the risk of becoming out of time with the backing track if an entry is missed; therefore I may propose that the spoken line before the verse is cut if we end up finding out there isn’t enough time before the verse starts, which we will work out in our next rehearsal by counting the bars interlude and then running the song several times both with and without the dialogue and see which works best.  Another part we spent some time on was my section as the timing is really awkward as the music is moving in 4, but my vocal line is sung in 3 which makes it seem like I am singing too slow and out of time to the track, when in reality it is just how it is written. The first time we sang through the song, I completely messed this up as I was concentrating so hard on getting the words right – as we obviously had to change lots of them to fit the context of our show but I had the original version ingrained in my head due to listening to the soundtrack so often! Nevertheless I managed to redeem both of these issues by recapping the section over and over again, restarting every time I made a mistake, until I got it perfect. In one of our first rehearsals, several weeks ago, Lynn had flagged up that I needed to be very careful about sticking to my British accent and not slipping in to the American accent when singing in this song, as my character is not American and it sounds out of place. In all honesty, I wasn’t aware I was doing this and I’m sure it is because I have listened and sung along with the Original soundtrack so many times when trying to learn the song, that it got stuck in my head and so when I go to sing it, it naturally comes out in this voice. Subsequently, I paid particularly close  attention to this aspect when rehearsing today to try and retrain my brain into the British accent coming naturally rather than letting any Americanisms creep in.

Tom and I decided that we wanted the movement to be very basic and natural, with any action being character driven rather than having ‘set’ movements. We established the idea that my character, Rose, will be cleaning the tables and collecting glasses and doing tasks such as these to demonstrate how she is still working, and that Tom will be following me around as he continues to ask me out and attempt to convince me. The only moment where it is essential specific movement happens is during my section of the song where I sing the line “Give it back, George, Stop” and as indicated in the text, Tom must take something from me. While it is obvious that it is most likely he takes something that Rose is cleaning with off her, we wanted to establish what we were planning to use so that we could choreograph it in and also make the Tech team aware of any props we might need. In the original Broadway stage show Rose is using a handheld mop, however for the purposes of our show we decided that a cloth or tea towel would be sufficient and would be more convenient to deal with as I could have it on my person throughout or conceal behind something else on the stage – however, a mop or broom is a lot harder to bring on and strike at the end of the scene and seems a lot of effort for one tiny moment in a song. Tom needs to make sure that he is near enough to me before the line so that it feels natural rather than staged, because in one of our run through’s he was on the opposite side of the stage and had to run over specifically to take the imaginary cloth off of me! This was extremely funny at the time, but it highlighted to us how important it was that he was close enough to me, so that could take it easily and also so that his character would have motivation to do so.  Today’s session was more of an opportunity for us to play around with the staging and see what works for us and what doesn’t in regards to movement, rather than setting anything in concrete. Nevertheless, the next time we meet up to rehearse this song I think we should pin point some key moments and establish where abouts on the stage we both will be and when we move to these places – just so we have a rough geography planned out and then we can add more detailed moments later when we had props available.

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