July 20th

Rehearsal 3

Tonight’s rehearsal for A Christmas Carol was light, fun, and very productive.

The rehearsal began 20 minutes late when birthday boy Chris (39) going on 50 burst into the rehearsal space with his freshly trimmed strawberry blond hair and a Shakespearean strut.

Walter had secured us a nice room at Temple University. The room has a classroom feel to it with an empty gas canister and a replica M16 sprawled along one of the tables. It’s our second time rehearsing at TUJ.

A Christmas Carol is a short novel about a bitter miser called Scrooge. (Played by Tim, who is nothing like Scrooge…cough) With the help of three ghosts, Scrooge changes dramatically, and becomes kind and generous by the end of the story.

Trying to condense A Christmas Carol into a sixty minute play was very challenging as a writer. Charles Dickens often wrote with a fluid, epic and film like style, with locations changing constantly and dozens of theatrical and flamboyant characters. However, I hope I’ve managed to honor the book in a fun and respectful manner. I kept a lot of the original dialogue and also incorporated some of Dickens own notes and quotations.

Dickens’s desired a face-to-face relationship with his public (the relationship he was to achieve literally with his readings), in which he and his audience were present in the same room. Our play opens with Dicken’s (played by Chris) reading to the audience.

The rehearsal was split between debate around the table and work on our feet; discovering and exploring the basic physicality of the show and its movement sequences.

Tonight’s rehearsal was Walter’s last until September. He’s going on holiday to America for a month. We rehearsed Marley, Fezziwig and Christmas Present scenes. The Fezziwig scene is one of my favorites as it’s full of joy, merriment and music. It’s also a very contemplative scene. Especially at the end.

I should also mention Chris made a rather fetching Mrs. Fezziwig.

One hilarious moment in the rehearsal was when Walter called Scrooge ‘Bob Marley’. Images of Bob Marley singing ‘No woman no cry’ through Scrooges office window, on a cold, Victorian Christmas eve filled my mind.

At the end of the rehearsal, Tim recounted his horrifying experiences at a public school, he attended in London (During the 1800’s) ‘The teachers you see’ he exclaimed with a tint of resentment ‘caned the naughty boys’ bottoms for punishment. In the shower room, you could always tell the boys who had been caned, by the black stripe on their behinds.’

I always wondered where the inspiration for the name Black Stripe theatre came from.

July 11th – Rehearsal I

July 13 2017
We met at Temple University and it was agreed that since I will be going away for the remainder of the summer after our rehearsal next week, we should focus on the sections of the play that I am in – Marley & The Ghost of Christmas Present.
We worked on the Marley bit first. At this stage I am coming to the part(s) as much a blank slate as possible. I try not to make any decisions that are chiseled in stone and like to explore the part(s). There are certain guide posts that I focus on in each part and they help me make decisions.
* Relationship, to the scene partner(s)
* Event(s) what does the audience see occur.
The difficulty I find in this material is in the language. It is one thing to read the story of A Christmas Carol and very much another to perform the dense enjambment of Dickens’ dialogue. And the tone and style of speech is eccentrically Dickensian.
At one point Marley says “…Nor can I tell you what I would…” Tim pointed out that ‘would’ means want
(Tim has recently used the phrase “I should like to direct the play”) I will take him at his verbiage to mean not that he should but would like to direct the play.
Would means wantshould means would.
Does this archaic usage suggesting a character from another older past world? Was it a common usage in Dickens’ day?  Possibly a springboard to the character(s) and the setting of the story.
Here is a tricky one:
“Oh, captive, bound and double-ironed !Not to know the ages of incessant labour, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed! Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness! Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for ones life’s opportunities misused! Yet such was I! Oh, such was I!”
It makes sense in reading, but the focus when spoken needs careful preparation.  
Find the meaning of each sentence. Decide the subject in each sentence. What is the point of the sentence?
Who am I talking to? The audience?  Scrooge?  Myself?  God?  What am I talking about? What is the main event of the scene? Mini events?
And then there is the fact that Marley is a tormented ghost wrapped in and dragging heavy chains.
What does that circumstance suggest to my choices? Physically,  psychologically. Vocally.
It was suggested by Chris or Justin that I am compelled to and fro by unseen magnetic forces. Later it was suggested that the other actors may act as these forces manipulating my movement.
Much food for thought.
We spent an hour on Marley and then moved to the Ghost Of Christmas Present.
I worked on trying to be a benevolent Santa Like Spirit.
This will be a guide in future work in my imagination and in the rehearsals.
I laughed and chuckled and found all things light and funny.
Here the ghost describes Tiny Tim…  “Coming home from church one day Tiny Tim hoped that the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant for them to remember upon Christmas day who made lame beggars walk and blind men see”… Tim suggested that I should not laugh when talking about Tim being a cripple.
 Or could it be that the Ghost represents life as a great comic farce with all things being equally absurd. Life is a cruel joke.
More food for thought.
An hour spent with Ghost of Christmas present. Much help and discussion form the others. Onward to next rehearsal Tuesday. God Bless US Everyone.

Auditions for Edward Bond Plays

「at the inland sea edward bond」の画像検索結果

Here is information about the auditions for Two Plays by Edward Bond.

We shall be having an ‘exploration’ rather than an audition on Saturday June 24th from 2pm to 5pm at a coffee-shop near Komaba Todai-mae (Inokashira line, two stops from Shibuya).  There will be a further exploration on the evening of June 27th from 6pm to 9pm at Azabu Annex of Temple University Japan (Between Shirokane Takanawa and Azabu Juban).  Maps to these venues are available below.

If you would like to read the play before attending the audition, please contact blackstripetheater@gmail.com

ImageHere’s a cast breakdown of the two plays:

Derek (6 characters, 5 or 6 actors)

Derek 20-30s

Julie (Derek’s girl-friend) 20-30s

(Derek’s) Mother 40-60s

Biff 20-30s

*Doctor – 20s-70s

*Foreman – 20s-70s

(The above two roles can be doubled.)

For accompaniment of songs: on-stage guitarist

At the Inland Sea (5 characters, 5 actors)

Boy, early teens

Mother 30s-50s

Woman – 30s-50s

Man on Roof, 30-60s

Old Woman, 60-70s

NOTE on the plays by director Timothy Harris

Derek, which Bond himself describes as a farce, was first performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Youth Festival at The Other Place, Stratford upon Avon in 1982, and was subsequently toured throughout the nation by the RSC. The play tells how a young aristocrat who is too stupid to take up the traditional family career of politics persuades, or rather coerces, a working-class genius into swapping brains with him…

At the Inland Sea was first presented by the theatre-in-education company Big Brum in 1995, and was toured by the company to schools throughout the Midlands. It tells the story of a young boy, the son of a single mother, who is preparing to go to school on examination day. But a strange woman, carrying a baby, appears in his bedroom and begs him to save her baby from the soldiers who are rounding her people up…. It is a play that has haunted me, as the woman and her baby haunt the boy, ever since I first read it some years ago, and it should be of great interest in Japan since, as I said in a lecture on ‘The Noh Drama and the Modern Stage’ to the Asiatic Society of Japan, it is the ‘contemporary Western play that… comes closest in spirit to the Noh. … In the figure of this nameless woman, Bond has created a being who stands with the characters who appear in kyōjo-mono, plays about deranged women such as the mother in Sumidagawa; and in the movement of the play, with its building tension, its climax and liberating release, he has created, without any obvious reference to the Noh or any hint of pastiche, a truly modern work that comes as close to the Noh as it is possible to come without using the conventions of Noh performance.’

Edward Bond (born 18 July 1934) is an English playwright. He is the author of some fifty plays, among them Saved (1965), the production of which was instrumental in the abolition of theatre censorship in the UK.

For more information on the playwright check this website: www.edwardbond.org