Pseudolus Group D

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We got the beat on-line—check out the hip-hop, the whip-hop, the percussion!

*Somehow* everything came together in the end! On the one hand, our Ballio was a fearsome villain, threatening slaves and courtesans alike with his words and his whip. On the other hand, the pimp’s victims ultimately managed to undermine him. By entering in a conga line and merrily banging away on the drums, the slaves defused much of the danger.  The cross-gendered casting of three of the four courtesans provided additional comedic opportunities to undercut Ballio’s bullying. Through performance, we were able to explore how the “mute” characters, who are easily ignored in a text, can dramatically affect the tone of a scene.

Session 10: July 16

We held two dress rehearsals today in the Forest theater. At our evening rehearsal, we decided that Ballio, Pseudolus and Callidorus should be unmasked after all, allowing the audience to focus primarily on their lyrical language. The slaves/ courtesans will remain masked, making them appear somehow more prop-like and mechanical by comparison. We’re the first group to film (bright and early!) tomorrow morning…

Session 8: July 12

Today’s rehearsal was back in the beautiful Forest Theater. Although we were down a few actors, we were able to do a full run-through of the scene with music and percussion. We decided to re-block the courtesans’ entrance after realizing that we probably won’t have enough time to run all the way around the (deceptively long!) perimeter of the theater and change costumes. Now we just have to continue to drill our lines and cues until we become more comfortable with them!

Session 7: July 10

During the afternoon, we practiced our lines and blocking, focusing especially on the musical cues. We later held a bonus rehearsal in the Forest Theater from 6:00-7:30 (when it started to rain). We tested out our brand new masks, which arrived today, and ran through the basic blocking with our wonderful extras/ musicians Ada, Amy, Angela, Mike, and Tim.

Today we rehearsed in the Forest Theatre. It is a beautiful space! One of the main challenges we faced (besides the heat!) was figuring out how and when to play to the cameras and when to open the action up to the audience. We tested out a couple of different ideas for blocking, which we’re hoping to finalize before our (very generous) extras join us. Our Pseudolus and Calidorus experimented with masks, discovering how tricky it is to run up and down stairs with a limited field of vision, while our slaves/ courtesans rocked out with drumsticks and tambourines.

Session 5 (July 2)

Today was our first read-through of the new script in its entirety (and it sounds great!). We identified places where the slaves/ courtesans could chime in with lively, rhythmic refrains. We played around with different beats to underscore Ballio’s description of each of the four courtesans. We also started to work out Ballio’s blocking during Calidorus and Pseudolus’ dialogue – we’re planning to have him dance (waltz, tango, etc.) with each of the courtesans.

Session 4 (June 29)

We sketched a plan of the forest theater and began working out some of the blocking. We talked through ideas about where to position Pseudolus and Calidorus relative to Ballio. We’d like to see how close we can bring them to him, playing up the risk that they might be discovered. We’re going to have them participate in the percussion somehow, perhaps giving Pseudolus a loud, comical drum solo.

Session 3 (June 28)

Today we read through Patrick’s lively hip-hop adaptation of our scene. We played around with different rhythms and discussed different ways to incorporate percussion into our staging. One idea was to have the slaves carry in buckets, which could quickly become drums…

Session 2 (June 27)

We decided to rework our translation quite a bit. We want to experiment with Ballio’s long monologue, and see what it sounds like with more colloquial language and also in verse. We talked about renaming the courtesans that he calls upon, in order to bring out the original comic sense of their names. We did a read-through of the text, thinking about the ways in which the other characters could react to Ballio and take his threats seriously.

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