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One of the most thrilling days in the entire process of building a new show is the sitzprobe. This is when the actors and full orchestra come together for the first time to sing and play through the show. Throughout the rehearsal process, the actors will rehearse with live accompaniment, but generally it is only piano or perhaps some percussion. The sitzprobe is the first time the actors get to hear the full orchestrations of the score.
We have now been in Cambridge for a week and are in the full swing of “tech.” I explained in my last blog that this is the part of the process when the show is moved out of the rehearsal room and onto the stage. As some may know, we begin at the top of the show and carefully move forward step by step and cue by cue setting lights and figuring out the logistics of the show. A lot goes into making a musical flow smoothly.
This week we traveled to Cambridge, MA, home of the American Repetory Theater. Now we begin “Tech,” or the part of the creative process when we move the show out of the rehearsal studio and onto the stage. This is often one of the most tedious parts of the process – long hours spent setting light cues, figuring out set moves, spacing dance numbers on the stage, etc.
Well, our time rehearsing in NYC has come to a close, and we are all preparing to journey up to Cambridge, MA where we will move into the theater at the A.R.T. We finished up this week with our first full run through of the show. This was exciting because it was the first time we really got to see the complete picture of what we have been working on so hard for all these weeks.
We have talked a lot in rehearsal about the traditional perception of the traveling circus troupe – about the ways in which we romanticize that life. In a way everyone secretly wishes he or she could run away with the circus and perform some unimaginable feat few others would dare even attempt. We’ve talked about the transient nature of the circus – how suddenly it bursts into town thrilling audiences with colorful displays and inexplicable tricks, and then just like that, it is gone again. There is an element of mystery in all of that.
In the world of circus, there is a special term for the opening number. We have been hearing this term, “charivari,” in rehearsal a lot lately. Our circus choreographer, Gypsy Snider (of the Montreal based circus company Le 7 doigts de la main), explains that the charivari is a colorful and busy display in which the audience sees brief snippets in rapid succession of all the acts that will be featured that night.