Isla Carter (Estella) gives us an insight in to the rehearsal room again...
Thursday 11th morning
This morning was all about choreography.
Dance numbers in a Dickens? Not exactly, but there are opportunities to have some carefully choreographed moments in the production. Although most actors are trained in movement some fear the dance call more that anything else. The idea they would be required to remember steps let alone pass them off with finesse AND remember their lines and characters can feel daunting - How do those musical theatre machines do it?!
However our resident choreographer and movement director, Corinne is brilliant at starting simply and building up so you are dancing duets without even realising how you got there.
We start with a warm up - very important, and also lots of fun! She puts on some up beat music and we get the energy up by fast paced walking, turning, jogging in the space. We then get into a circle and do a basic gallop first one way, until you are almost too dizzy to stop and then the other, then in pairs in a light ballroom hold. "That's your basis for the polka" we are told "easy!".
Less than half a hour later we are turning the steps and adding hops and short sequences in our pairs and later travelling in formation across the room. We have built up to something that looks visually quite impressive but is relatively simple to execute.
Next we waltz, practising the basic 123 steps first individually and then in our pairs. We play with tempo, slowly and elegantly and then whirling round as fast as we dare without bashing knees and getting our feet in a tangle. Estella will dance the waltz with Bently Drummle at the top of act 2 and they should look the most glamorous pair in the room - no pressure then.
Once we have the steps down we can then layer on the character, this is all part of the game Miss Havisham has schooled Estella in - the art of enticing her partners and attracting them to her like moths around a candle.
We piece together our sections and it is surprising how much material we have for one mornings work.
Great! Now we just need to be able to do it in large dresses and without falling down the ramps!