Last night (Sunday) was the evening that began the workshopping-of-Gossamer-the-Play. If I can successfully move the snapshot from my cell phone to this site, you will see a group of actors sitting around a table, along with me (playwright), Stan (director) and Cecily (dramaturg). First, the entire play was read straight through, with very few interruptions (although Actors Equity requires a ten minute break every hour and twenty minutes) and then it was read a second time, (but without the stage directions being read this time) with the director stopping things now and then for (sometimes lengthy) discussion about a particular character, or the relationship between characters in a scene, how the characters were evolving, or what exactly we were trying to do, with a bit of dialogue. There was some trying things different ways, some experimentation. My role was mostly listening, and I did that with enormous interest and appreciation for the hard work everyone else was putting into it..
This morning I re-wrote two scenes, one centering on The Woman and John (you'll recognize these characters if you've read the book. Otherwise: trust me); and the other with Fastidious, Most Ancient, Thin Elderly, and Littlest..a lot of fast-paced dialogue there, some argument, some interruption and quick back-and-forth among the quartet of characters.
Tonight we will rehearse again for four hours, with the two re-written scenes inserted. Probably some of it will still be reading around the table; but also, Stan, the director, would like to have actors up on their feet, moving around a bit. The concluding performance next weekend will be a "staged reading"; it will not be simply standing or sitting, reading the script; nor will it be fully staged, of course....but something in between.
The actors provided sound effects, sometimes hilariously...those things will all be done by the sound technicians when the play is actually produced, of course. We had a pretty good owl hoot, though, a lot of loud heavy breathing when necessary, some not-too-great horse whinnies, and a terrific woof-and-whine dog.