The Rake’s Progress, by James Carpenter

(Lifted, once again, from Associate Artist and Uncle Vanya professor portrayer Jim Carpenter’s blog):

It’s been warm out at the Bruns during our last four days of Tech; our first evening was chilly, the next two sublime, and we finished out the week on Sunday with another brisk evening.

We’ve actually been able to do some work on scenes between the cracks of working on lighting and sound cues but didn’t run the show till last night. Oddly my performance was better in the full sun with no costumes, sound or lights…. I hate it when that happens.

I find myself stumbling on internal adjustments; at the top of Chekhov’s act 2 the Professor and his wife are revealed onstage asleep in their chairs–his gout has been troubling him, the pain keeping him from sleep and as a consequence he’s kept the entire household awake tending to him.

But we have no curtain, hence no reveal; this means that I have to limp onstage through many bustling people who are shifting scenery and moving furniture, plop myself down, read a bit, fall asleep and then get startled awake and at present I’ve barely time to get to my chair and let my head drop before I suddenly jolt awake; the actress playing my wife has a full costume change (she’s in the final scene in act 1) and barely makes it on in time.

This feels odd–we both go from a brief burst of energetic motion to a moment of stasis and I at least have not made my peace with the moment–it feels as if the audience is supposed to witness that silence and non activity for some time — this is not criticism mind you, but more in the nature of dealing with the peculiarities of this particular set; I’m sure we’ll find a happy medium.

The raked stage has added a few challenges but as proved fairly easy to deal with–the cast had a session with a physical therapist who gave us a full range of stretches and provided exercise balls and foam rollers to help counteract whatever adverse affects we might be feeling from the rake and we’ve put them to good use; I’ve had to do much work on my ankle (the one I sprained in Richard III last year) and am using my brace.

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0 Responses to The Rake’s Progress, by James Carpenter

  1. Anonymous says:

    >Hi–I saw the preview of “Uncle Vanya” last night (08/07) and I had to write and tell you how much I enjoyed it. The production is just about perfect. Every performance is so achingly beautiful, funny and sad. I am an actor new to the West Coast, and your production made me more excited than ever to be an artist in the Bay Area. Bravo.SGL

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