Shrewpost 6: fights, and the Duchess of Comcast

We rehearsed on stage today, which was a treat. The design is based around a big red circle on the floor (wrestling mat? circus ring?). The other neat feature is the actual proscenium stage. The ring is floor-level, and the audience surrounds you on three sides. On the fourth side, the proscenium stage lifts up about four feet, allowing for grand entrances and attention-grabbing staging. Movable stair units connect the proscenium to the ring.

We worked with our hot, six foot tall fight choreographer, Samantha. In an appropriate gender bending twist, she goes by Sam, but is most un-Samlike. She’s just beautiful, and, to top it off, she kicks ass – or she can make it look like she does on stage. She worked with Tom and me on the comic dance in the middle of the wooing scene and then we created the “wrestle” at the end of it. It’s literally over the top – very WWF. Today, suddenly, the scene became fun. Tom and I know enough about it that we’ve started to play it.

We were also stimulated today by a small unannounced audience: Charles, the artistic director, several women whom I took to be Lantern board members, and then the Duchess of Comcast herself, Suzanne Roberts. Ms. Roberts is one of Philadelphia’s most generous artistic patrons, and I watched Charles sit next to her and chat quietly while we worked. Apparently, she played Kate many years ago, and even though we’d finished with the wooing scene by the time she arrived, we were quietly instructed by the stage manager to go back and run it one more time for the Duchess. I don’t know how she felt about it, but the other ladies giggled a bit. Without a bit of remorse I thought, we’re not so far from the King’s Men, performing for royal patrons to ensure our very survival.

Had a bit of an epiphany about the final speech. Different parts of it are for different people on the stage: the widow, Bianca and Petruchio. I had been thinking of it as this set piece, delivered to the assembled wedding party. But even though everyone hears it, I think it’s quite intimate in places. Began to memorize it. Almost there.