First Rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet
By Evan Jonigkeit, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet
Yesterday was our first rehearsal. I walked in with trepidation as I do with many of my projects, wondering if I will be able to pull it off essentially. Romeo and Juliet, >salve being iconographic, sits on a plane above most in the gut tingling nerves area. I have learned that these first rehearsal nerves I have come to expect are, for me, a catalyst for work ethic. I realize the only way to move past the uncertainty of a thing is to know it and contest it backwards, forwards and sideways so I am able, hopefully, to make fearless and unapologetic choices.
I entered the room of the Arden’s rehearsal hall, with its unpainted walls and scattered props from shows past, even some of the rolling tables I came to love and cherish as a security blanket in the world of The History Boys. I remembered immediately something about how the history of this place (like many theatres) somehow holds your hand as an artist to make you trust what you are about to embark on. When my body was done taking in that ethereal first breath, my eyes focused. I saw some of the most talented and lovely people that make living and working in this city a privilege. My nerves were commandeered by joy for a moment as I began my hellos. I could write the first interaction with each person in that room, however in my heightened state of the moment, I would surely bore you with the minutia of each (worth noting – Scott Greer and I agree the Mets had an awful off-season).This I will say: the coming together of two actors that worked together in the past is like closest childhood friends running into one another in the supermarket. With childhood friends we immediately remember how to play, remember it is ok to cry, they remind us of a time when it was us against everything. At least that’s what my childhood friends and I were like. With the old friends, were scattered new ones. Like Suzanne the lovely Nurse and Shawn Fagan, Mercutio (we agree the Jets really broke some hearts against the Colts, but a good season overall) and Mahira, my Juliet…
After we met with the Arden staff, many of whom have become personal friends, we began to talk. Matt Pfeiffer, our captain on this voyage towards the horizon, told us what this play is through his eyes. By the end of his thoughts, I had tears welled up in mine. It was then I knew, I wanted nothing more in that moment than to be exactly where I was, amongst these people, in this room, and living one of the greatest stories time has given us – one that has survived in our society through every renaissance or revolution and is as pertinent as any religion.
And then, with this wealth of talented individuals around a table, we read the play…
Evan will be blogging throughout the process of Romeo and Juliet, so check back often for more posts!
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