From Rafaela Lewis
Artistic Director of Martha Rose and Miss Julie
This week, we embarked on our journey with this beautiful, challenging, monster of a play. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we were so excited to finally get into the rehearsal room! This week was a long time in the making, and I'd like to begin this first blog by giving you a glimpse into our process ...
With Julie, we decided to break away from the tradition casting model of auditions/callbacks. Our mindset was that this is a very intimate play, so reliant on chemistry within the cast, that a monologue, or cold read would not give us sufficient time with each actor. Instead, we brainstormed performers who would be a good fit for John and Kristine, and then called them into participate in workshops of scenes from the play. Through this process, Santa delivered us the incredible Dan and Jade, who were cast just before Christmas, 2014.
In preparation for rehearsals to begin, and to get a jumpstart on publicity, we had our official photoshoot (see lovely image above) in March. This was my first opportunity to step into Julie's shoes (figuratively and literally). The story told in this shoot, which was directed by our Co-Producer, Trevor and Costume Designer/Props Mistress, Daina, and shot by Douglas Hamilton, helped Dan, Jade and myself to begin exploring the John-Kristine-Julie dynamic.
I find that I am a more present, confident and adventurous actor when I am off-book. I began working with the text in February, with the goal of being mostly memorized by this week. To aid in this process, I also began to analyze the text using Practical Aesthetics, which is the pillar of the Atlantic Theatre Company's technique (where I trained from 2011 - 2013).
I've begun making a playlist of music that Julie connects to, which in turn helps me connect to her on a visceral and emotional level. I've also been researching the period. I've been watching a lot of film: the Ken Burns documentaries on Prohibition and Jazz, Singing in the Rain (sort of embarrassing to admit, but I'd never seen it before!), and The Roaring Twenties. I've also been reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, which is a semi-fictional detailing of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's relationship, based on letters they wrote.
My physical preparation has included a lot of Pilates and Spin (shout out to Body Harmonics and Rocket Cycle), to get the 1920's silhouette and also develop the stamina to do this beast seven times in five days!
We began our first rehearsal with a table read, which is exactly what it sounds like: Dan, Jade and I sat around the table with Tim, our director, and Deb, our stage manager, and read the play aloud for the first time. As the show runs about 70 - 90 minutes, this left some time to begin discussing our characters and the play as a whole,
Our second and third rehearsals have consisted of us reading through and exploring the text, as broken up into units by Tim and Deb, chronologically. We continue to ask and answer questions, and are beginning to find a structure and the trajectory of the piece.
This brings us to the end of Week One. Our rehearsal blog will be updated every Sunday, so please stay tuned to find out what Week Two will bring!