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Up Close With Emily

June 6, 2010

As a perk for Arts Fest Club members, members can sign up for the Festival Backstage programme(s) and incidentally, there was one for the open rehearsal for Emily on Emerald Hill. So I took the afternoon off 3 days ago and attended it.

It was an enriching experience. I’ve not read the full play before, but an excerpt can be found on Basically, open rehearsals allow the production team to get feedback from some external audience and it’s also an educational process. I believe that anyone serious in theatre should at 1 point or another, expose oneself to the workings that goes behind a production. Whether from a director’s point, actor’s point, sound, music, sets, etc., you need to at least have a peek to understand and appreciate the full effect, and be aware of the effort and coordination that needs to be put in to give the production that audience experience. Any part that goes wrong will affect the viewer’s perception.

The set up was pretty simple, as the actual sets weren’t ready yet, and some video projection was not ready. It was held at a rehearsal studio in SMU. The lighting was still in progress, which wasn’t well-executed during this rehearsal.

Got some tips on acting techniques and “art” from Margaret Chan, like how not to play sad, actor’s choice, balancing between being the character and being the actor, e.g. if one gets too into character or emotional, you’ll tend to forget lines. Also on how not to direct. One could also see how seriously Margaret Chan took her role. For a 61-year-old to play a 30 plus character required some effort, especially as she said, the kneeling part. It was also difficult to keep audience interested as it was a pretty narrative piece and a one-person show. She did it well.

I’ll be catching the actual performance next Friday, so am looking forward to see how it would have progressed by then.

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