Wow - I couldn't ask for a better cast and I couldn't imagine a better first readthrough and first blocking rehearsal! It was amazing! I've never seen a cast so far along in character development at the first readthrough. I think it had to do with the fact that we had to schedule those extra auditions and most of the cast had their books for about a week and a half before we did the first readthrough. It makes a huge difference when they have had time to read it through a few times. I got a ton of compliments about the cast, especially the ladies. I think this is going to be an amazing show!
We had our first stage rehearsal last night. I only asked my two lead actresses to come so that we could get their scenes blocked first. They have three scenes in Act 1 and then a large portion of one scene in Act 2, so we blocked the first two scenes of Act 1 last night and will be blocking the final Act 1 scene and the section of Act 2 tonight. I feel great about the pace and about what we are conveying so far. I just got the entrances and exits from the set designer about a day before the rehearsals were to start and I still haven't seen any sketches, so some of those things may change, but the blocking we did will all be easy to adjust. We even got down to small gestures and facial expressions, which I thought was pretty cool for the first night.
At the end of the rehearsal, I had them run through the two scenes again and they looked great! We have a thrust stage and the audience is on three sides of it, so the blocking is really important, especially for the extreme corner seats. While we blocked scenes and ran through them, I sat in different places to make sure everyone could see. When they ran through both scenes at the end, I sat on one side and the SM sat on the other to see how everything looked from both sides. We'll need to make a few adjustments to the sightlines, but all in all, it looked really good.
I'll be with the same group tonight to finish out their scenes, then I'll be working with different groups next week. I've given them weekends off for the time being because I think it's important for them to have a little time to study their lines! And, you know, to have a life!
I'm so impressed already and so excited about this. My first directing experience is wonderful so far!