We Finished Blocking Into the Woods!
This past week was a marker for our production because we finished blocking the entire show last Friday! We were able to run the whole of Act 2 last Friday and Saturday and we’re getting ready to review Act 1 on Monday. This has been an unexpectedly enjoyable and meaningful process and I’m quite sad that it will be ending in a matter of weeks. In the beginning, I was reluctant to have our rehearsals over at the Signature Theatre (42nd street) instead of at The Juilliard School because I wasn’t used to commuting to another venue in order to rehearse. The Juilliard building has been such a familiar space for me and my dressing room has turned into another home where I have mostly all the stuff that I need from my own dishwashing soap, to my toiletries, to my study materials that commuting to another venue, where I don’t have a space to stow away my belongings or where I have to bring most of my stuff as I commute, didn’t seem appealing to me. Commuting pains aside, I found it unexpectedly refreshing to be working at a different venue outside of the school. It feels as if I am a little different and my colleagues are a little different outside the Juilliard building and we get along pretty well!
Fourth year continues to be a meaningful phase of the training in the sense that it feels as if I am getting this one extra year to refine minute aspects of the skills I’ve painstakingly worked to get into my body for the past three years. Sarna Lapine (director) is a sensitive, firm, imaginative and grounded captain of the ship that is our production of Into the Woods. What I find most rewarding in this process so far is that I don’t feel so much that we’re doing a musical – even though the Sondheim piece is very challenging musically – but more so like a Shakespeare piece set in music. The fierce rigour that I’ve applied to text and scenes for the past three years is proving to be valuable in this process. The songs feel like scenes and my solo feels like a soliloquy – which is very rewarding for me as an actress.
Ever since I’ve moved into my first apartment I’ve begun to question what it means to live a life and what kind of day-to-day existence would be most rewarding for me. I’ve been observing other people in my life and in asking them about how they’ve spent their weekends or their rare and unexpected free evenings, I compare them to how I myself had spent them and end up questioning whether I’m living my life to the fullest. This might be something that I would continue to question over the next few years. I remember when the first rehearsal of Into the Woods was fast approaching, I began to get jealous of my other colleagues from Group 48 who were in other productions that were to open earlier in the season (i.e. Nora and Detroit ’67) because they were to close sooner and will have more extra time as the holidays approached while me and my other colleagues in Into the Woods would be working hard even during the Thanksgiving holidays. Even if that is still the case, I realized that working on Into the Woods was the happiest I’ve ever been so far this school year, no matter how rigorous. Working with people who are extremely talented, who work hard, who are generous and mindful of their colleagues on a project that has a lot of meaning, and which makes us grow as artists – that is part of a good life.
I am a Graduate Drama student at The Juilliard School from Quezon City, Philippines.