Carolyn performed as Ariel yesterday in the New Renaissance Theatre Company’s production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
The performers use an “unrehearsed” technique, where they are reading from scrolls that contain their lines and the cues they have to listen for. She’s put together scrolls for several different tracks (each track typically consisting of a main role and, when that main character is off stage, several random servant / supporting characters).
She doesn’t find out until the day of a show which track she’s doing that day.
Each run will probably feature a different configuration of cast members, all of them sticking to Shakespeare’s lines but improvising their blocking according to some simple rules the company practice and internalize, so the end result looks purposeful and engaging (not like a bunch of actors waiting to be told where to stand).
The prompter sometimes blows a whistle and orders the cast to rearrange themselves to clear space for upcoming action, or orders a character to take an abandoned prop offstage, or orders the cast to break into a popular song to kill time until a noisy motorcycle or siren passes.
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