Reflecting on a amazing rehearsal with the KidsPlayers last night. I'm pushing them pretty hard and they are rising to the occasion.
We work on accents. Maggie has made great strides in reining in her tendency towards sounding like Eliza Doolittle. It's clear she has done some outside work on it and that's impressive. I do believe she could now pass for British aristocracy. And although Colin was absent last evening, I have to commend him on his excellent Scottish accent.
We work on character. The were-hyenas have to laugh constantly, but have to moderate their volume up and down to accommodate the continuing dialogue over the top of their laughter. Keeping up that kind of laughter without hyper-ventilating can be tricky, but I know we're getting somewhere when I look back and see the parents smiling, caught up in the infectiousness of the constant giggling.
We work on timing. The screaming Mummy comes in and she's so loud that the kids have trouble focusing. We go over and over the scene, pushing it until the last word of of one character's speech overlaps with the first word of the next. By the time we finish, Dr. Evil and Sherman and the Mummy have created a scene charged with dynamic energy that pops and crackles.
We work on physical comedy. The Mummy gets pushed through a door that she doesn't want to go through. In the course of it, she bumps her head, her arm gets scraped, fingers pinched in the door. We work on it until it's a safe, but believable scene. And it works.
We work on inflection--emphasize THIS word and not that. We work on facial expression--a quick glance, an eye roll, look, don't look, look and look away. We work on volume and speed of delivery--louder, then soft; say this faster and it will be funnier; slow that down so it sinks in to the audience. All are pretty sophisticated concepts for actors as young as these and they get it. They really do.
The trust is amazing. I trust them to carry the role, to live up to the responsibility of lines, character, out-of-rehearsal work, and they trust me to make them funnier, better, to push them to the best they can be.
And really, we're just getting started, just getting warmed up. This is gonna be one for the ages. Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens.