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 want– should 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.