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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Feature: Processed Theatre's Journey to The Fringe Part II

Week 2: Our Rehearsal Process and EDGES: A Song Cycle
We are Processed Theatre. Last September we produced a successful “Reefer Madness: The Musical” at Mainline Theatre, and are now preparing for the debut of our second show, blindly hoping that we can continue to produce the quality and popularity of “Reefer Madness: The Musical.”
By Nichole Carlone 
Rehearsing is a tricky bitch. 

You have some directors who demand performances from day one. You have directors who recognize that this is a time for growth, play, discovery and that it's a process. A huge part of our mandate is "process over the product,” because a strong process yields a strong product. This core value was present in our decision postpone our show EDGES: A Song Cycle to the 2011 Montreal Fringe, rather than try to pump something out last minute with a new cast member. 

We didn't see anyone who could simply take over for Jade, so we moved a bunch of music around, and voila: a whole new/same old show!

Now we have the lovely Dane Stewart in the cast, and Jade is off to Europe this summer to make an exciting movie, which I am assured is not pornography. Matt Lacas, who was already in the show, is taking over Jade's part and Dane is taking over for Matt. We had 5-6 boys come in to sing, and each one presented solutions and dilemmas. I take my casting seriously. It is, after all, 90% of my job. I have to examine every angle, and talent has little to do with it. Of course you have to be good, but your looks, experience, training and reputation play a huge role in casting. In this instance, we needed someone who could learn music and harmonies fast and well, and had a good, friendly vibe that fit with the look of the show. We didn't see anyone who could simply take over for Jade, so we moved a bunch of music around, and voila: a whole new/same old show!

...there are times when actors are tired from their joe jobs and they fake their way through a rehearsal.

Our first step in the process is to learn the music. I have a rule that you must learn the music as written before you get to play with it. It's the technique. I try to encourage the cast to learn breath by breath, and if you don't know what that means, you should come take one of our workshops. Then we discuss the person singing the song. In this case, EDGES is a song cycle, so each song is an opportunity to create a whole world and character. We discuss why this song and these words. What just happened that made you have to sing this song right now? Then we start to play. (I have stolen many a wonderful acting exercise from many a wonderful teacher and director that I've had the opportunity to work with.) Once we have a clear idea of the story that's being told, we begin setting down blocking and choreography that supports the story. 

Is 100% of what we do organic and derived from "the process"? No. Sometimes, I flat out choreograph something because it's cool or sexy or goofy. It does happen that I have to feed a line reading to someone. And there are times when actors are tired from their joe jobs and they fake their way through a rehearsal. It happens. That's life. 

...explore, go crazy, be physical, risk collision...

Rehearsals are a tricky bitch. 

The important thing to remember is that rehearsals (or RE-HEARS-ALL) are for rehearsing. That means explore, go crazy, be physical, risk collision, discover, make choices then make the opposite choices. And above all don’t be lazy. Dress to move, bring water, know your stuff, offer ideas and choices and be open to everything. The end of the rehearsal period is the time to set your choices, and blocking and whatnot, so take advantage of the time given to play.

Also at Processed Theatre, we have started rehearsals for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which will play at Mainline Theatre this September. We are also involved in the purchasing of a building in Verdun with the hopes of turning it into the Verdun Organization for the Development of Arts and Culture Center (VODAC), which could be our permanent home. If you like the cut of our jib, and have 5$ to spare, please consider helping us out. This building would also provide a new performance, creation, and rehearsal space for the entire visual/theatre/dance/film/etc arts community. It also has a bar...


  1. Thanks guys. The posts look great. Hope everyone is into reading them as much as we like sharing our story. :)

  2. They are indeed. Also it gets a nice buzz going about the Fringe waiting for Christmas!


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