Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tablework for Dragonsong

I recently auditioned for the play DRAGONSONG based off the book by Anne McCaffrey. I was given the role of a dragon puppeteer. Basically I am responsibility ( with 3 other kids) for making a massive (40 foot) dragon head come alive on stage. More on that in a later post.

Dragonsong is basically a story set in the land of Pern about a young girl who loves to sing and play music and a boy who wants to be a dragonrider. Unfortunately their town's customs forbid these things and they must find a way to fulfill their wishes and dreams even it involves taking drastic measures. Just a wonderful, cute, little coming of age story.
Anyways, last night we had rehearsal and for three hours we did tablework. When the director said we were doing this, my response was, "say what?". I had no clue what it was. He went on to explain that it is getting to know the setting/environment/heritage, etc of our play. So, we talked about the land of Pern and why it was created and for what reasons. We discussed the significance of each scene and what the characters were feeling and how what they did was important and the certain elements we needed to make sure the audience got when watching this performance. For example, here is the first line in the play. We read it and then came up with the following things.

CAPTAIN: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are about to land on the planet of Pern. Please make sure your seat belts are securely fastened and your anti-gravity force field is turned to the positive position. You will notice the two escape hatches on either side of the cabin, marked with the old-fashioned word "exit". If there is an emergency landing of any kind, please proceed calmly to the exit hatch nearest you and descend to the ground outside the spaceship. We are now ready for maneuvers. Please stand by...

1. these people are leaving earth
2. why? because of a war (we found this out through some books the assistant director brought)
3. what is Pern? a planet of refuge, a dwelling place that eventually turns into a permanent home for harpers (singers), dragon riders, dragons, fire lizards, fisherman, people of all ages, etc.

So there you have it. Tablework. It was very interesting to go through this process because it was just a time to sit down and think about the play and imagine how it would be on stage and to really get into character. In all of the other plays I've been in the director(s) have just jumped right into blocking and rehearsals and leave the characters and research to the actors and actresses at home. So, it was great and I'm looking forward to what my director has in store for us next....

Here are some great links:
The Worlds of Anne McCaffrey
Book Review of Dragonsong by Emily


Erin said...

Oh, wow, I guess I've really taken that for granted with my last two shows (Fiddler and now I Remember Mama) - my director, John, always does that. He doesn't call it anything in particular, but he counts it as part of the necessary process to have talks with the cast about background and setting and character emotions and stuff. We had so many talks like that in Fiddler, and even in the first rehearsal for IRM last night.

*whew* Anyway...it's SO helpful, isn't it??

Charlotte said...

I love this book, and remember dreaming, when I was about 12, that it was stagged using rubber chickens as Fire Lizards. I hope yours work better than these did!

Incidently, the book you nominated for the Cybils Sci Fi Section is already on the list, so you can have another chance if you like--I have the list up at my place (link on top right).

Sherry said...

Sounds like a really fun opportunity!

Emily Ruth said...

love it trace :)

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