This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring-house…

and we will do it in action as we will do it before the Duke […of Mount Quom-Si-Quom-Sa-Sa.] (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 3.1)

(Sorry, a bit of theatre nerdiness there. What would tour be without some Shakespeare?)

So much has happened in the past few days! How do we start? Where do we begin?

“Start with yesterday,” Allison tells me, sitting across from me at our kitchen table and sipping her tea.

And have we talked about our wonderful house yet? Dear Cuthbertson, as stately and graceful as a Victorian lady, open and welcoming as one might like. (And as strangely composed–we wish we could show you the servants’ quarters.) Standing stern and rickety and labyrinthine. Our home for the next two weeks.

Cuthbertson

Cuthbertson

We’ve started cooking–and eating –meals together. Gluten-free pizza with spinach and peanut sauce; banana butterscotch pie, heaped with whipped cream; warm, savory stews… on n’est certainement pas en manque de nourriture. C’est d’ailleurs très difficile de trouver l’énergie nécessaire pour se lever si c’est l’heure de la répétition… c’est pourquoi nous avons établi une petite, euh… tradition pour s’assurer de ne pas devenir trop inerte. Ça s’appelle Devil and Angel –Ange et démon. On reçoit le nom d’un membre de la troupe au début de la semaine, et on doit lui jouer un tour. Bien sûr, il faut faire sa pénitence en faisant quelque chose de gentil…

Which is why last night, Eric got in and found his room like this:

Uh-oh.

Uh-oh.

What you can’t hear is the iPhone alarm hidden under the bed, blaring Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up . (You know the one.) Thankfully, Eric has a sink in his room, so he might have been able to empty out the glasses–if his sink hadn’t been filled to the brim with bright blue feathers. Needless to say, his cries of anguish resounded throughout the house… to our great delight. Let the prank war begin! Life in Cuthbertson is about to get much more interesting…

This was take before Eric was pranked, but it gives you an approximation for his expression when he found out.

I suppose that we should also talk about the fact that we are now–gasp–officially off-book! On Monday, we wondered how we would ever do it–and now we’re off and running, peeling off Italian runs at a moment’s notice. Slowly but surely, we’ve gotten to that point on tour where any sentence you say can–and is–replaced by a line from the play. We aren’t just doing theatre–we’re living it!

And right on time, too, because a few eyes have started to turn toward us… yesterday morning, we had the pleasure of letting in a reporter from CTV Atlantic to see our rehearsal process. We hope that we didn’t scare you too much, Jonathan. It was a wonderful time–and we got our first audience apart from Alex! We’ll try to post the link to the segment in the coming days–if we can find it.

Alex and Jonathan

Alex and Jonathan

Getting interviewed by Jonathan

Getting interviewed by the Swan Pond

It’s mostly been raining here in Sackville, so we’ve been keeping our rehearsals confined to the space beneath Convocation Hall–but yesterday was so gorgeous that we couldn’t help but bring our rehearsal outside. Embrace nature! Embrassons la nature! It was a good idea, after all…

This bush shall be our tiring-house...

This green plot shall be our stage...

There’s nothing quite like rehearsing outside. Suddenly, you can’t project to a particular wall–you just have to direct your words at the audience and hope that you’re loud enough to be heard. We didn’t have a set–only the warmth of the sun on our skins and the sound of the wind in the trees. I found myself unable to completely concentrate because I was too busy looking around at the beautiful afternoon.

“Why aren’t the others amazed at the beautiful world we see from Mount Quom-Si-Quom-Sa-Sa?” the tree says. Je suis d’accord. Comment ne peut-on pas aimer le monde qui se passe autour de nous? Les feuilles qui absorbent la lumière, qui bouillonnent de vie et de vert dans le vent. Sans la forêt autour de nous pendant nos répétitions, comment pourrions-nous l’apporter avec nous à travers les maritimes?

Alex dans le gazon - Directing from the grass

When I’m standing, cranky and owl-like, in our capharnaüm of a rehearsal space, it can be hard to really get under Hibou’s feathers–to find the forest in the props and flats, and be indignant at those who refuse to listen. Ever since our outdoor rehearsal, though, I’ve started to see leaves and branches springing out from the set pieces. I remember the wind and the sun, the trees and the shade, and I feel the same kind of peace I felt when we were outside, for once.

L'arbuste contemple....

L'arbuste contemple....

See you on the other side of the mountain.

-Hibou and the gang.

P.S.: We’ve set up a Flickr account to look at our adventures! Check out the sidebar to the right for more photos, or click right here.

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