The first night's reading was typical. A gathering of people, curious about the project and curious what to expect from one another. -- As a director, I've always been wary of read throughs at first cast meetings. I don't really consider it the most productive or inspiring use of time. Some people are aren't confident about their reading skills, so they offer up only a murmur. Some people are dyslexic. Some people come in with their performance already bundled in a bag, and they give it. It's an evening that just sort of plods along for me. However: some actors tend to be lost if the process doesn't begin with a read through, and so they insist on having a complete reading on the first night. I never used to do that. We'd start by getting to know each other, we'd read bits and pieces from the script, and we'd do exercises. However over the last five years, I've come 'round to giving into them. Now of course, I hear Michael Boyd and Peter Brook
(Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director since 2003. "The Wars Of the Roses", Hamlet", "Twelfth night", etc.)
(C.I.R.T. director, former R.S.C. artistic director: "King Lear", "The Mahabharata", "Hamlet", etc.)
. . .
saying things like: "I've gotten away from starting rehearsals with readings", and I think: Awwww, I should have stuck to my guns when I had the chance. But oh well. What I hope is useful for the actors is to spend that reading as a time to familiarize with the story, familiarize with how the script tells the story, and get an idea of the voices and people they'll be acting opposite.
The first rehearsal was last night at Elizabeth's. The ability to do constructive blocking was stilted somewhat by the space. We couldn't access the Shoebox (Rehearsal Room) and it was too late to go out to the theatre, so we made the best of it.
Bottom line: It's good to be started.