Saturday, October 23, 2010

Week 6: Entry 2: Captured forever

Tuesday night. Pick-up call (i.e. the rehearsal after a break in a show's run). As it was, we'd only had the Monday night off, and so it had been planned that this rehearsal would also be a perfect occasion to have the play filmed. Under the wonderful auspices of Joseph Rodriguez from the UCD Media unit, three camera operators and a truck, in which Joe undertook a live edit, appeared at the Mondavi Centre.

There was such a wonderful, calm atmosphere in the auditorium. Last week had involved four performances, at which reviewers had been present on every night. The natural excitement and adrenalin had obviously impacted on my inner rhythm. For some reason, tonight as we recorded, I seemed to open out into the show, to take my time, to let moments breathe. And indeed, we ran at 75 minutes, whereas the usual running time for Tilly No-Body is about 72. I'll talk about stage time in another blog, but the strange thing here was the paradox of an empty auditorium and the sense that I could expand Tilly out into that space. It was really fun.

I had mistakenly thought that if anything went wrong, we'd be able to go back and re-record. As it is, that's not Joe's remit. Since the University recordings serve as educational resources, then nothing is edited: if something goes wrong, then that in itself serves as a useful learning experience for the viewer and the educator to comment on.

As it was, only two things went wrong: the champagne bottle failed to magically appear, and the follow-spot went off at a noticeable moment. Neither of these was hugely detrimental to the show, and fortunately I didn't stop to try and correct them, or that would have formed part of the final film. Which wouldn't have been that great for my purposes. Not only do I want this to be an educational resource, but I also want to be able to send it out to prospective venues, symposia, and conferences, for future tours. Not to mention my overwhelming desire to share the play with my parents back in the UK. My mother and father have been devoted supporters of my own and my siblings' work all our lives. Indeed, the three shows I've done here at UC Davis - Elephant's Graveyard, The Seagull and Tilly No-Body are the only three productions in my life to which my parents haven't been able to come. I suspect that's something of a disappointment on both sides of the pond.

Knowing, therefore, that the film was capturing the production forever and for various purposes, actually gave me less anxiety than I'd anticipated and, curiously, more presence. A paradox, but a pleasurable one. Joe has informed me that the film will be sent to UCTV, a service run from UC San Diego for all the UC system. He has also told me that hits can run into the millions! Well, that would be a treat and delight. But for the time being, just knowing my family can share this enormous journey with me will be satisfaction enough.

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