Any first day of rehearsals that starts with a ten kilometre run is going to end with a lot being achieved. Or a hamstring injury that wrecks the day. But the burst of energy that hit me at 7am this morning after two Demazepan and 24 hours of flying was shared by everyone today as we finally began rehearsals for the first foreign-language production of Priscilla. I have had very lofty ambitions all year to learn Italian, and meant to devote the last five weeks to getting the basics down. I concede that I spent one hour learning the alphabet and a lot more time organising an Italian-themed birthday party for my boyfriend. But I’m surrounded by bilingual people (surely that’s a setup for a Priscilla joke, Phil?) so my ignorance will hopefully create theatrical bliss.
In a very convenient situation we’re rehearsing Priscilla for MAS (Music, Arts, Show) a company that does theatre, runs a drama school and owns apartments on the edge of said drama school. So we can live and rehearse on the same block. The actors are on floors one and two and the creatives on three – so mayhem may occur at some point. The apartments are still being completely finished so there is an element of surprise daily (“ciao, I have washing machine for you”) but the area has some great shops and a pizzeria.
We met the cast that we only put together a month ago – all very excited. There are still a few holes to fill – we held auditions today and picked up a new Material Girl Boy and will have another round on Thursday to finalise the cast. Our producer, Daniele, introduced everyone (I think, I was a little jetlagged and it was in Italian) and handed over to me to say a few words, which my lovely translator Valentina would then make sensible to the company. I do like to make a few witty bon mots in an opening speech, but it’s a little awkward to make the joke then wait for the response a minute later. I guess it’s a bit like writing, actually, where your “funny” is only proven by someone else’s ability to deliver it. We then did a scene-by-scene of the show (lots of “oohs” from the cast as they realised what songs were in it) and they headed off to music calls.
The rest of the day was a blur of cappucinos, auditions, props meetings, and various other discussions as we made sure all was moving ahead correctly. Back at the residence I snacked on Italian treats and listened to Carole King. I have this strange fondness for her “Tapestry” album lately. Though listening to “So Far Away” when you’re in a foreign country and literally far away from everyone you love is…something that empties a red wine bottle very quickly.
Tomorrow, we dance!