Rehearsals begin haphazardly. Scenes are broken down into smaller bits, bits often rehearsed out of order. It is like building a puzzle; all the pieces of blue sky are sorted into one pile, the green of the earth into another. At some point, the pieces must come together to create the landscape. In theater this is called a stumble thru. It is, of course, not perfect. Lines are dropped, blocking is forgotten, pieces aren’t in the right place. But the general shape is there.
Today You Can’t Get Lost in America, had its first stumble thru. Sure there were mistakes, but I was pleased to see how well the show worked in its first premature showing. The bits and pieces fit nicely together. I feel the entire cast is ready for some more intensive scene work. I can’t wait. Personally, I loathe the first few weeks of rehearsal–when I still have my script in my hand. I feel awkward and detached. The first stumble thru, while slightly scary, allows me to relax into my work. It’s like jumping into unfamiliar waters; after you survive the first leap you can’t wait to dive in again.
I think my cast is ready to dive in deeper, work harder. Everyone did so well, especially Mary who has had much less time to work her scenes than the rest of us. Also, the stumble thru shed some light on Peter for Vinz. Peter’s arch is tricky, and Vinz expressed some difficulty understanding his growth throughout the play. Hopefully playing through from beginning to end helped.
Tomorrow, the other cast is slated to stumble thru their show. I can only hope that they will have as fruitful a day as we did.