Last night we had our first rehearsal with the musicians.
In the end we’re going to have a contrabass and two timpani, and last night we had the two musicians in with their instruments, mostly to get a feel of what’s to be done.
One of the two had read the play, and we had exchanged a few ideas already, while the other just plunged in. Gemma and I made a few requests, but we all agreed to keep things as fluid as possible yet.
“Go on,” they said. “Rehearse. We’ll try things on for size.”
And so we did. We went through our bits of Henry V, Julius Caesar, Henry VI, 1 and two Sonnets mashed together – and the musicians tried things as we went.
You can’t imagine how exciting it was.
We played, and music blossomed out of the words: heartbeats, chords, dissonances, a snatch of melody here, a sleek variation on Greensleeves or Tourbillon there… We never knew what would happen next, and keeping concentrated, and adapting words, breathing and pauses to suit the music (and vice versa) was hard work, but so rewarding…
Of course we overdid it like mad: we’re never going to use one tenth of what we did last night, and a couple of things didn’t work, and many others will require a good deal of polishing – but some moments just clicked into beauty, some others suddenly revealed a rhythm to the words we had not seen before… I’ll say it again: we’ve miles to go, and it will take much fine-tuning, starting with next rehearsal and the notes we took – but the excitement and freshness of last night’s raw work have infused into the play, a kind of life I didn’t quite expect.
It was lovely, very alive – and a little magical too.