Today’s rehearsal was entirely spent working on “The Smell of Rebellion” and the choreography was really rough for me because of the timing. A lot of the jumping jacks and squats are at a really fast pace and change really quickly to all jumping jacks. And right now I’m focused on learning the choreography, but like I keep saying I’m worried for when I need to really start singing and dancing full out. Everything seems to be moving so fast and I’m having a hard time catching up. I know the more I practice, it will become muscle memory but right now I’m stressed. I know I can do this, but I worry how well I can do it.
I also started to feel self conscious during “The Smell of Rebellion”. I was looking in the mirror while I was dancing and started to notice how I’m the biggest person out of all the little kids. I’m one of the tallest and the heaviest little kids and I’m afraid that’s distracting. I know this production isn’t going for realism when it comes to casting, but how is anyone going to believe I’m a 5 year old boy? When I jump, my body moves in ways that the other little kids don’t. I just feel like it’s going to be something I think about from now on but I don’t want it to affect my performance or enjoyment.
Yesterday’s goal: Placing the blocks was a lot less intense during today’s rehearsal. I’m getting the feeling the transitions we previously worked on will be changed. I’ll focus on recording block placements when I know more.
Tomorrow’s goal: BE IN THE MOMENT! Don’t worry about how you look!
As it turns out, we will be cutting the blocks we use for the classroom by 2/3rds. Gregg mentioned that a lot of the other locations will be simplified as well. This is just a relief because these transitions were so confusing and hard to remember exactly.
It was so fun to do the Spelling Test scene! I’m really enjoying the Trunchbull moments, because it’s interesting exploring how a small child can be scared of another person. And the fear the children feel for Trunchbull is so real. She has a device that can physically hurt them and if that step out of line in any way, they could go to chokey. The next rehearsal we have with Trunchbull, I want to explore more of Tommy’s relationship with Miss Trunchbull and chokey.
Yesterday’s goal: Since there wasn’t any dancing, I really wasn’t focused on how I look. Tomorrow we’ll be going over “Revolting Children” so I think I can implement that goal then.
Tomorrow’s goal: BE IN THE MOMENT! Don’t worry about how you look!
10/18 Stumble Through
Today we did a stumble through of the entire show and overall I felt pretty good about it. I had missed the rehearsal before which was a transition rehearsal because of a family emergency, so I was nervous about being behind everyone else. Thankfully stage management got some of my blocking, and my other classmates guided me through so by the end of the rehearsal I knew exactly what I was doing, and what I needed to work on in the future.
I’m still really struggling with dancing. I feel like I know generally what to do for each song but specifically the foot work is what I’m having a hard time with. I really need to make the time to go through the dances that I’m struggling with and solidify the choreography in my head. I’ve just never danced this much in my life and it’s something I need to work on. I’ve taken dance classes before here and I think Broadway jazz really prepared me for this, but I can’t help but feel this way.I knew any role I could’ve gotten in Matilda would be hard, but I didn’t expect this. But I’m glad that I am experiencing this challenge. It’s rough right now but I know this is such a good experience.
Tomorrow we’re working on act one again, and I’m really happy that I have another opportunity to work on “Bruce” specifically. I feel like I used to be the kind of person who when something is difficult, I would give up. But I think one positive impact UMW Theatre has been learning to push through the uncomfortable. I think I’m too used to playing it safe because I’m worried of failing or being rejected. And I think throughout my time here I really let go of the self-doubt and fear. Of course it’s still there. It’ll never go away. But each time I am frustrated with remembering the choreography or having a hard time singing and dancing, I feel a little better about myself. Because I know it’s OK to make mistakes. Mistakes are how you grow and improve and I can’t expect to be perfect all the time. Failing is OK. Rejection is a part of life. It doesn’t mean I’m bad, it just means I’m growing.
Tomorrow’s goal: Really focus on the transitions and choreography. Ask questions if you’re confused!
10/21 Full Day
I’m starting to feel comfortable enough with the singing, blocking, and dancing to where I can really start exploring more of my character during the show. Since the beginning of the process, I’ve been thinking about Tommy’s character sort of passively. Just little thoughts about what his favorite color is and what his parents do for a living. But nothing solid because I wanted to explore things at the moment during rehearsal. If I predetermined Tommy’s character, then I wouldn’t be able to go with the flow and explore new possibilities. Now, I’ve come to a point where I feel I know a good idea of who Tommy is as a person and can start really getting detailed with my character journal. I’m very excited for this step forward in the process!
Tomorrow’s goal: Gregg said to me today to go “full out” during the designer run and I think I did at some parts. But tomorrow, I want to fully commit. No doubting myself and no half assing it. COMMIT!
10/22 Rehearsal and Sitz
The beginning of the day was our last rehearsal in Wonder Bread which is always a bittersweet day. We started with a scooter rehearsal which was very helpful to feel more comfortable in using them. Playing a five year old boy is such a fun experience because I get to act like a child with no shame. I can have fun riding a scooter and being sily with my friends during this show and that’s so special to me.
We had a run through which went really well and made me feel much more confident in my knowledge of the show. Of course I forgot some things but that’s okay because I know with lots of practice during tech, I will get it down.
The Sitzprobe truly made everything come together! It was beautiful hearing the whole orchestra play along with us. The music really enhances the story with its little diddies in the middle of scenes and the boldness of instruments during some songs. One that stood out to me was the saxophone in “Smell of Rebelion” during Trunchbull’s solo. It just added another level of fun to the song and hearing it for the first time was a magical experience. After the Sitz, I just got more excited to move into Klein and start tech!
Since Monday night, we’ve been having tech rehearsals everyday. Of course, tech is a slow but necessary process. Since it’s very stop and go, I’m not really feeling that engaged with the show which is okay. Tech is for the designers to tech the show and I just have to perform the show to the best of my abilities when we are going! Something that is really bothersome is the amount of people that are talking while we are on hold. Since it’s so many of us, there’s not really a way to whisper to eachother on hold because it all sounds so lound. I feel bad because I know we’re distracting the designers when they’re trying to do their work. The best thing I can do is be quiet during holds and not engage much with people when they talk to me.
Getting into costume for the first few times is such a wonderful feeling for me! Not only are costumes just fun in general, but it adds another layer to the character. To spend a few days figuring out how Tommy moves and interacts with the clothes and shoes (especially because he is a child and children interact with clothing differently than I normally do) is really interesting to explore during tech. I also feel a lot less self conscious with the school uniform and gym uniform on which is such a relief! Both uniforms are pretty loose and hide the parts of my body I feel most self conscious about. However, during “Smell of Rebellion” I’m jumping around so much that I can’t help but feel how my body moves. At the end of the day, it’s just something that I will have to push through and be gentle with myself about.
10/28 Run Through
Today was an 11 hour day in Klein. We started by teching the rest of the show which was awesome to finally have it completed. The show feels whole now with the tech and orestracha which makes it all the more exciting to open soon! Then we learned a cute ribbon dance for the bows which I absolutely love! At first I was nervous to learn another dance so close to opening, but it’s so much fun to twirl the ribbon that I didn’t care.
After a dinner break (which I really needed because I was getting hangry), we did a run through of the entire show with all the tech, costumes, and some instruments. It was such a gratifying experience to see how everything we’ve worked on for the past month and a half has come togthether! And it was surprisingly emotional! During the spelling test at the end, I noticed myself and other little kids were tearing up, specifically during the purposeful misspelling part. I started feeling emotional because it is such a powerful moment in the show. The little kids finally feel brave enough to stand up for themselves and join together to stop Trunchbull. And the way it was blocked where we turned to Miss Honey to show our allegiance is just so beautiful to me. These little kids have been through so much abuse at Crunchem Hall and the final classroom scene as a whole just gives so much hope. It’s just such a beautiful ending.
10/30 -10/31 Run Throughs
We’re at the point now where we’re just running through the show to get into our bodies with not much of the blocking changing. It’s awesome to see us start feeling more comfortable with the show! I’m confident now that I know my blocking to where I feel like I can just have fun with it!
As I’ve expressed earlier, sometimes I get into my own head and forget to let go and have fun while I perform. Playing a kid has given me such a sense of freedom in my acting that I think I will really grow from!