This has probably been one of the most exhausting 2 - 1/2 weeks I have experienced in a very, very long time!! Hence, my absence from the blogging scene for a while.
It started with our painfully and terrifyingly abbreviated rehearsal period of 7 days, which would have been fine had I not had the bulk of the dialogue, including many long monologues. It ended, this past week, with our 10/12 (the technical rehearsal where we work 10 out of 12 hours) on Monday, 2nd tech rehearsal and dress on Tuesday night, rehearsal and opening night on Wednesday, 2 student matinees on Thursday and Friday (9 a.m. and 10 a.m. respectively!!!), in addition to, of course, all the evening shows and matinee on Sunday.
Even though I started, as you all know, studying the script prior to my arrival here, and was pretty much "off book" (as we say) for the first rehearsal, I found I was still having a very challenging time retaining all my dialogue. Perhaps it was the early rehearsals, maybe the change in environment, but my brain felt foggy and unfocused. It didn't help that I wasn't sleeping well, although I never do. The character I play also happens to ramble on, endlessly, and is the main focus in the first act, so I was finding that 3/4 of the way through the act my brain would just stop functioning and refuse to remember what came next. Rehearsals (when all the elements are added) help to solidify dialogue, and the more you rehearse the more your lines have time to set. Short rehearsal periods do not afford the opportunity to truly feel comfortable enough that, if you do happen to forget a line, you can at least paraphrase enough to get by, instead of just standing there like a deer in headlights, hoping the truck hits you to put you out of your misery.
So, panic set in when I was having to call for "line" (when the stage manager has to feed you your dialogue) every other line, the weekend before we opened. Not terribly reassuring when you know you won't have that life-line in a few days. So I googled "brain food" and discovered some quite amazing things (that I posted on my Mind, Body, Spirit blog, in case you are interested), which helped tremendously.
As for the "stage fright" I had been experiencing in recent years on opening night: I was told to start taking calcium supplements and a B complex daily, and to eat every few hours on the day of the opening, and it seemed to have helped. Then again, perhaps it was just that I was so profoundly tired I had no energy to feel frightened, but I was certainly very grateful to not feel that panic when the lights go down and you walk on stage.
Now that we got through that first week, we can have fun, both on and off stage! Though the fun on stage will be short-lived as we are done this week.
So, off I go to do some sightseeing today, camera in haul!