covid related rehearsal experiences
by Roswitha Gerlitz (The Manna Threshold)
this ‘opera’ was written for performers, two of them in dialogue. there are three whispered text sections before the dialogue which i, the director/writer record myself. under the new circumstances, we, the collaborators of the project agreed to turn the live performance into a video. think covid and uncertainty, the how, where and the ifs – i agreed to perform it at home undisturbed and safe.
these are the first days of recording.
having done a lot of whispering, i’m ready to record part of the text like the journalists do, or used to do – under the duvet.
i have to cut out white noise.
not as easy as anticipated: i need light to read under the duvet.
i must not move as the tiniest move is audible on the recording.
no heavy breathing. light and duvet are warming up.
i freeze, focus, read the text while recording. a few repeats take some time.
it gets hot under the duvet. thirty minutes later i’m baked and call it a night.
this ‘opera’ was written for two performer in dialogue. i am not a performer.
nor am i familiar with the technical aspects of the undertaking.
first day of rehearsal i set up the iphone between my books in the bookshelf.
cellotape the text in various places on the shelf. pity that the collaborators, Andreas, Catherine and Yolande are not able to join me here and now.
i am ready to split myself into two performers who are reading and speaking the text to be videotaped.
my first Self records her dialogue-part on the laptop to play it back for my second Self, who then can respond in front of the iphone while she’s videotaped.
when my Selfs are just about adapting to the situation and getting to know each other, the doorbell goes. its the delivery man for whatever they ordered.
this is repeated several times.
now this: My selfs have grown a spot on the nose – could i ask tete a tete’s marketing team to note that our performers are usually NOT spotty?……..aaahrg
i get ready for the composer to join me tomorrow. a final set up: my flat is very bright. not good for the filming. needs attention though the forecast is in favour, i take out shoeboxes, ladders, old curtains and, thank god its there, a painters extendable pole. climb ladder, put 2 stacks of shoeboxes on top of shelfs, then pole and curtain: one window darkened. make up, hair and coloured tops will be last minute stuff. adapt seating height with cushions, same for the feet in front of the bookshelf. lamps on, i split into my Selfs – now called Blue and Sepia. i rehearse it a couple of times to be watched and scrutinised afterwards. day over.
evening: a zoom with Yolande, focus on the Blue self’s physicality, which i havent yet given enough attention.
………………………….to be continued…..