One of the best parts of rehearsing a show like this in a college setting is having access to a multitude of resources. In this case, we are incredibly fortunate to have access to the Rodale Aquatic Center
- or the RAC as it's known on campus.
Through an arrangement with the Aquatic Center staff, we have been granted after-hours access to the pool for "aquatic rehearsals" during our process.
Our pool, being constructed for stage, is 12x16 feet and will be about 18 inches deep, which translates to about 2500 gallons of water! A large portion of the action onstage takes place in this pool of water, and so it becomes critical for the cast to work in water during the rehearsal process.
This week, we began our rehearsals in the pool at the RAC. It's an adventure, to say the least. While it is an AMAZING opportunity for the cast, it does come with some disadvantages.
As an example, the shallow side of the RAC pool is 3 1/2 feet, which is significantly deeper than the pool onstage. As such, bodies move through the water in a very different way. Gesture work and physicality which may work in the deeper water might not translate to our pool onstage.
In addition, as a director, I tend to be "hands-on" and jump on and offstage quite a bit as we experiment with staging and physicality. When we are at the pool, however, I am restricted to the side of the pool - a significant challenge.
Finally, at this point in the early stage of rehearsals, cast members are not off-book at this point, but it's obviously not possible to bring scripts into the pool. For the sake of early rehearsals, then, our production staff has been given the task of reading lines for the actors in the pool, while cast members focus on blocking and physicality.
Here's a "first-person" perspective from cast member Mike Febbo:
Well, last night was our first attempt to incorporate water into the production. Using the College's facilities, we waded our way intoTags: Metamorphoses, Ovid, rehearsal, Rodale Aquatic Center, water
the next step of (what promises to be) this extrodinary experience. My first impression was "oh, this will be easy," but as we worked through some of the physical elements of what we have already blocked, I found that the inclusion of water has its 'dip and dive' points.
The "dips" included getting to be in the water to work some of the body mechanics we discussed and the fun of taking this journey to the next level.
The only "dive" point was the depth of the water, which is higher than what we will be using [by about 2ft] so we will need to work as a team to overcome that challenge and still keep on track with blocking and production progression.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVED swimming at 9:00PM and still calling it rehearsal!