One of the most exciting times in any production process is the first goosebump moment. This is the moment when I really, truly start to believe that the show will work. (Whatever confidence I’ve portrayed earlier has been bluff!) It also signifies the show starting to move to the next level – getting closer to performance pitch.
The Crucible’s first goosebump moment occurred yesterday. There have been lots of good rehearsal moments so far, promising much in performance: between Proctor and Elizabeth in Act 2; between Abigail and Proctor, Tituba and Hale, Parris and the Putnams in Act 1; between Giles, Francis and Proctor in Act 3, to name but a few. None had given me goosebumps, however. But that was to change…
Those of you who know the play, won’t be surprised to hear that it was the girls in the trial scene that provided the first goosebump moment. We had been working systematically through the act with lots of stops and starts, until the section involving the imitating of Mary Warren – where the girls chillingly repeat her increasingly desperate cries. Momentum started to build – I felt no desire to interrupt; I just wanted to watch – the pace was suddenly perfect and theatre magic happened! I know – from the look I shared afterwards with Parris, among others – that I wasn’t the only one to feel it. And that was part of the goosebump moment – sure Mary Warren and the other girls were providing tremendous vocal and physical energy, but just at that rehearsal time everyone on stage was involved, absorbed and totally in character – from the silent marshall in the aisle to Danforth in his pulpit, elevated above the rest. The team was really gelling and doing great work.
I was suddenly aware that I had been holding my breath and I let it out in a rush.
Goosebump moments are thrilling. Not every rehearsal from now on will provide them, but they are glimpses of what we could achieve.
I want more!