For me, long weekends and public holidays have never meant rest. Even at school those days were always used for extra practice, or competitions. And even more so now that I’m in the performing arts. Public holiday are those magical days when there is no class, there are no submissions due, no new auditions to attend. It’s the ideal day to get your cast together. And so we did over this past 5-day long weekend.
Long rehearsals over long weekends are something that we need. It’s usually the most time we have to get our cast together. Long weekends and those precious Sundays which I have been told are actually supposed to be meant for rest. And although my rehearsals are scheduled in my diary, and although I have to plan my life around them, and yes and I cannot attend parties “because I have rehearsals” working on a physical theatre show rarely feels like work. I absolutely love it, and I love how I feel afterwards. Including the stiff muscles and the bruises. I feel like I have something to show for what I’ve done for my day. Bruises and all.
After this weekend though, I look like a victim of spousal abuse. Or in the best scenario I crawled out of some car wreck. I am working with our newest cast member on a sequence which requires a lot of partner work. We’re getting there, but I think the bruises are testament to his new relationship to movement, and my new relationship to having a lifts partner. It takes a while to get the type of work we do to flow. As one of the girls said after we finished choreographing the duets: “It will get there. However, I still feel like an old lady chasing a cat most of the time”.
Now when you work for a long time with a small group of people, especially with something as physical as physical theatre you become quite close. Perhaps it is because you are physically breaking those typically interpersonal boundaries by touching each other, and being in each other’s personal space that the rest seems to follow quite naturally. Perhaps its because the people in your cast are the people you spend the most hours in your day, and often most regularly.
The one thing that seems to happen, always, is the point where everything becomes sexual somehow. At one point in the show I am currently rehearsing on we bring a prop over one of the actors. “When do we go down on her?” one of the cast members remarked due to the timing changing. One of the girls snorted: “Was I the only one who heard that?” When he said it again accidently the next day (during the same part of the choreography) the entire cast burst out laughing.
You do have other awkward moments though. About two years ago we were working on a very difficult lift for a physical theatre show which required me, while standing on a cast members shouldering, to go down into a backbend (or crab stand) onto another actor’s shoulders. The first time we tried this it did not go smoothly, and I hurtled towards the floor from the height of about 1,7 meters head first. One of my friends caught me on the way down by placing an arm over my chest, and grabbing my breast. I did not notice, I happened to be more concerned with my impending demise at that particular moment. As he put me down all I heard was “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m so so sorry”.
“I touched your boob.”