From the Rehearsal Room

Hi! I’m Hillary, and I’m a new member of Seattle Rep’s Professional Arts Training Program. I’ve just moved to Seattle from Providence, Rhode Island where I graduated from Brown University with a degree in Theatre Arts and English Lit. As the Casting Intern, my jobs include scheduling auditions, doing script reports, and making myself as useful as I can to the fantastic people in the Artistic Department.

In Rehearsal for The Three Musketeers
My third week as the casting intern at the Rep, I have began assisting the director of The Three Musketeers. It’s my first show at the Rep and my first professional show ever. During rehearsal I sit next to the director, her sounding board and devil’s advocate when she needs it, but always I am a watchful observer of this exciting and, for me, new world.

A bit about the rehearsal room. There are 20 swords, 4 pistols, and one bullwhip neatly living on the weapons table against the side wall. At the back of the room, the wall is lined with fun props like French breads, bar stools, carafes, and a beautiful chess set. Behind me is the break table, where everyone in the room (even me!) has a mug with their name on it. There’s always fresh coffee, hot water, tea, ice water, and, perhaps most importantly, altoids. We work closely together, so curiously fresh breath is a priority. The stage space is dominated by a 6 ft. metal scaffold, a smaller version of our set. Stage management has taped out the floor to show where various set pieces would be. With a bit of imagination I can see the world that will soon be in front of me onstage.

We rehearse six days a week, and our schedule is orderly. Stage management makes sure we follow the rules of the Actors Equity union. The union has rules about how long our rehearsals are, how many breaks we get during rehearsals, and how often we get them. These rules are really to make sure the actors are given the circumstances they need to do their best work in rehearsal. And our actors need those breaks—this first week they’ve been learning fight choreography.

For the first six days of rehearsal, the cast has been learning and rehearsing sword fights for hours. I see toned arms, engaged minds, and high spirits as I watch the cast punch, kick and draw their swords to fight each other. Truth be told, I am always relieved when the fights stop and the fighters become actors while they talk to each other about any difficulties or confusion there might be in the choreography. They help each other out so that when I watch I’m always convinced that they’re fighting for their lives—or at least their honor.

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