Last Monday, I headed back to Shakespeareland for the first of four rehearsals for my upcoming tour of Hamlet. Since we had last worked in November, one of the cast members had to drop out because of another offer. (He's part of the Walnut St. Theatre's touring program now.) So two extra rehearsals were added into our schedule to prepare the new actor for the tour.
I'll confess up front. I haven't looked at my lines in about two months, literally since the last time the cast was assembled. And I didn't even bother to look over them before rehearsal. Another actor said he reviewed them on the bus; I didn't even go that far. If they had wanted me to brush up, they should have paid me for it. At this stage in my career, why would I work for free? Besides, I knew this rehearsal would be about our new actor Reuben, and having him step in to learn a LOT of blocking, lines, musical moments, and costume changes.
And I was right. We worked his bits for the first half of the show, over and over again, and I think I did my opening King speech once. Then I spent a lot of time dressed as the Lego ghost of Hamlet's father, said a few lines here and there, banged the gong, and went home. Our fight director came in to work the final swordfight in the play, and I got to go home early. I always like being dismissed from rehearsal early. Makes me feel like I'm getting away with something.
All of my big scenes with the new actor are in the second half of the play, so I know that I'm going to get my share of the workout on our second rehearsal, now scheduled for Valentine's Day. So that's going to be my big day working the new-kid into the play. And then we have two additional rehearsals before hitting the road to tour schools in March.
I was pretty amazed at how the show just came right back to me. We worked on it so hard and so deeply for what amounted to almost two solid weeks, the lines came right back into my mouth and I even remembered my costume changes and cues. I don't say that the lines came back into my brain, but they certainly just came into my mouth. I was just saying them. It was a rehearsal after all. One little glace over them before our big rehearsals coming up, and I should be good to go.