1 play, 2 actors, 11 roles and swords!
by Darin White
Lord Sword is a minimalist play with maximum punch. I caught up with actors Aldrin Bundoc (left) and Mike Peng (right) last week as they worked out the action with fight choreographer Daniel Levinson.
Darin White here again, guest blogging for Inter Arts Matrix who brings this production to our local stage. As someone completely new to the theatre, I've got a street view of this behind-the-scenes visit for you.
The first thing to know is that Lord Sword will be delivering two workshop performances, March 26th and 27th at The Registry Theatre in Kitchener. Grab your tickets for $20/$15 here and get down to Weber and Frederick Street to see it. Today I learned that a “workshop” performance includes an after-chat with the cast, director and everyone else involved, so this is going to especially awesome for seeing what goes into a production and how it gets shaped. Director Anne-Marie Donovan told me “a play is not complete until it has been performed before an audience.”
I found this rehearsal at the end of Cedar Street…
At The Courtyard. Everyone was just getting back from lunch.
It was only after I walked into the rehearsal space that I discovered street shoes must stay outside the door. Honestly, it's very interesting learning about various protocols of different domains I explore, whether it's the factory floor, music concert or rehearsal hall.
Aldrin and Daniel.
This schedule made me smile.
Stage manager Veronica MacDonald was blocking out the performance area with this pink tape. I didn't know that was a thing, but it makes perfect sense when you think of it. This production will travel to other cities after the two local performances, so there are considerations in designing the action around the props. You don't want anyone tripping over a stool or falling off the stage.
I like to show up early to poke around the scene. Every shoot offers interesting finds.
Mike back from lunch and suiting up.
Daniel looking at the next scene with play director Anne-Marie Donovan.
Anne-Marie's plan and Veronica's notes. Interesting short-hand and glyphs. Like most Inter Arts Matrix projects, this one involves a lot of inter-discipline contributors. Original music and sound design is coming from composer Colin Labadie. Marzena Cegys did the costume design and set concept. Light design by Jennifer Jimenez. Isabella Stefanescu is the Artistic Director for Inter Arts Matrix and she did the projection design for the play.
Douglas W. Campbell wrote the play that features “a grieving storyteller who takes on a young monk as apprentice who draws him into telling an epic beyond his power to control.”
Run the scene and then review. It's so interesting to see actors get a cue like “let's pick it up from [such and such a line]” and then switch into their role. They play the part until the directors says “Ok” or “Right there.”
Getting input from Daniel.
Daniel brought a lot of fun energy to the rehearsal, encouraging the actors, figuring out the flow of the action: even showing the angle a sword should be held at or how it should be worn on the belt. It was particularly interesting to see him solve problems of fitting the flow of the action with the plot development.
There's a great deal of respect from everyone in the house. They use very specific language like “if I may?” before repositioning a sword or person. An abundance of politeness and encouragement.
I started to see what must be a common (and necessary) give and take between the actors for the performance to work.
Getting repositioned by Daniel provided some interesting shots when taken out of the context of the rehearsal.
Loved Daniel's references to sword fighting in films.
I think acting must generally require a large degree of trust among the players, especially when someone is swinging a sword at you.
The guys looked like they were having fun.
The director moves the rehearsal along to the next scene.
But first an instructive story on a plot point I won't reveal.
Of course Daniel is tuning the actions and reactions beyond sword-play.
Aldrin strikes the classic pose.
I think they call this the craft service.
A break in the action allows for shuffling some props.
Good time for taking a few notes, too.
Checking in on the progress.
Sarah Kernohan popped in to capture some promo media.
Then it was time for the next scene. I really started to get an appreciation for how much work goes into a play like this. Amazing.
To see how it all turns out…
We need you in the audience.
Go here and click “Order Tickets”. You've got your choice of either Saturday, March 26 at 8pm or Sunday, March 27 at 3pm. So good.
Leave your sofa, find the others.