two potential looks

"Otaheite Apple
Her scarlet skirt hid the purity of her heart. True, she flirted, but it was all a guise. Her innocence was fleshy white, but in his terror to possess her, to break her spirit, he bit into her, his rage covering her screams, and her ribbons fell limply."

from Fruit Series by Opal Palmer Adisa

preview.

Johann Strauss II – Artist's Life (Op. 316) (0 plays)

This was the main dance theme; friendly and familiar, we started it off one minute in exactly. Having this as a precedent definitely emphasized the contrast between the two dance scenes.

The choreographer and I also arranged musical beats for the actors to find partners. Specifically, Beatrice and Benedick had a moment of dread where they were the only two on the floor alone - see if you can hear it!

Tin Hat Trio – Waltz of the Skyscraper (0 plays)

This was Hamlet’s dance theme in my spring show. My choreographer chose the piece largely due to its pacing (the frantic Liszt waltz I had envisioned was literally undanceable due to its speed and would not have been safe to perform, though I maintain that Mephisto Waltz 1 feels very Hamlet) and dissonance. The clown running the DJ booth putting this on added to the sinister concept that he was running things in order to steer the narrative to a darker place.

some gestures, some serenades, and a rare bonus photo of me in the act of directing! this is one of the things i love about theatre, and a great reminder of how much fun it can be.

some ophelia rehearsal stills that i can’t get over. the actors in my hamlet scene were working with some pretty heavy stuff and they did a great job! i think this scene had a lot of potential to be damaging, and the amount of trust that they put in each other and in me was astounding.

dancing! we played a lot with partner switching and determining who it made the most sense for everyone to dance with when they weren’t dancing with their own people. (also known as more background dynamics!)
all of those dynamics were drawn up to give beatrice and benedick, whose scene contained the bulk of the dancing, enough time to speak to one another. twice.
i achieved this by assigning everyone else preliminary dance partners; rosalind with celia, perdita with florizel. the clown was in charge of the dj booth.
in complete violation of their handshake pact, hamlet approached juliet for the first dance. this angered romeo, who proceeded to assure benedick he would dance with beatrice just prior to making a beeline for ophelia instead. this insulted beatrice, who begrudgingly conceded to dancing with benedick after all. if you could call it dancing - a good chunk of rehearsal time ended up being devoted to teaching the actors to step on each other’s feet and yank one another around in a less painful way. the idea behind this was to give everyone else an apparent reason for not wanting to dance with either.
i had combined two dialogues from much ado into the scene, and they needed something to fill the transition. b&b’s lack of awareness caused them to miss the partner switch entirely, and a whole chain of events went off behind them. rosalind fell in with romeo, which led celia to dance with hamlet in an attempt to make her jealous. ophelia danced briefly with perdita, and juliet with florizel. this left beatrice and benedick with only each other, again, and they kept on stomping until after everyone else had stopped.
then the clown put some spooky music on and pushed ophelia out onto the floor, where someone was waiting for a dance.

two other rehearsals; costumes were being decided, scripts were out of hands, and everyone was essentially off-book!

the first full cast rehearsal! a lot of this ended up being transition blocking, but it was really exciting to see all the scenes in the same room for the first time! 

we started testing costumes (that’s our costume consultant standing in as romeo) and dancing (our choreographer took a bunch of these photos and showed the cast how to dance dangerously without hurting anyone) and some really interesting things happened! 
this was the point where we really started fleshing out character relationships and deciding who, at this wild, mismatched get-together, got along best. 
romeo and benedick, blustery sweet talkers that they are, got along quite well, with romeo’s melancholy bringing in hamlet to form their little triad (see: bro corner). florizel, who tried a couple of times to join them, doesn’t have a lot in common with the bro crowd. at one point, the actors devised a complex secret handshake that florizel didn’t know. 
perdita and ophelia bonded over flowers, meaning they were played as being fairly close, meaning that perdita was the first to go over to ophelia when she collapsed after hamlet’s dramatic exit. i think it’s always important to work out the background dynamics as early as possible, because they make scenes seem more natural and make for an amusing time when an audience notices them.