Well, we have just finished the first half of our first day of “Tech” for Othello at Folger Theatre. Here’s the rundown on the day so far…
11am-Noon: Actors arrive in two waves to get into costume. Some of us do this more quickly than others and get an earlier start on the thing which comprises most of Tech for an actor—waiting around. Also, William Ivey Long‘s period costumes are very ornate and take some time to lace up, fasten, belt on, etc. Janie Brookshire, who plays Desdemona, has a beautiful blond wig to get into. Todd Scofield, who plays the Duke of Venice, has a hat to put on which must be seen to be believed.
Noon-3pm: Director Robert Richmond and the design team, with production stage manager Che Wernsman at the helm, launch into the play from the very top. The opening image into Iago’s first moment with the audience takes about two hours to execute and requires coordination between Che, and music, sound effects, lights, the actors, the on-deck ASMs, light board operator, wardrobe, and the visitors to the Library who watch from the balcony. As of this moment, they haven’t offered their opinions on how it’s going.
We then move on to my first scene with Ian. I won’t spoil the surprise, but Robert’s staging has me in an “unusual” place to play the scene, so I spend an hour in relative “discomfort” as the lighting state is determined and programmed.
3pm-4pm: we are finally through the next three small scenes before we move to the Senate. The set features a very large moving object (better for you to come and see it than for me to describe it) so the final hour before dinner is spent trying to make it move properly, and to light it dazzlingly. We run out of time at 4pm.
So. There we are. Halfway through Day 1 of Tech, and we are not quite into the second big scene. The change into Cyprus will probably take us the rest of the night. Intermission seems a million miles away.
…we are having an absolute blast. Robert is in very high spirits, Ian and I are giggling quite a lot, and the entire design team is totally on their game. The couple of lighting states and underscored moments that have been locked in are beautiful. I think Othello will be a firecracker.
Oh, yeah. It’s been pointed out to me that there has been a conspicuous absence of “the ladies of Othello” in this blog so far. Please be assured that I am on the case, and will soon have interviews for you with Janie Brookshire (Desdemona), Karen Peakes (Emilia) and Zehra Fazal (Bianca).
More to come in the morning.