Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Checking in Again with Director Chris Alexander

Time now for a second check-in with stage director Chris Alexander, who's ready to finish his rehearsal-room staging and head over to McCaw Hall for the final week of Magic Flute rehearsals.

We’re now in the third week of rehearsals for The Magic Flute. What have you been up to since we last spoke?
The second week was consumed with getting the second act blocked out, meaning getting it on stage, getting the positions for everybody, working on the emotions and the magic tricks—and the second act has had more tricks than the first act. Now where we are this week—we’re setting everything together. Tonight and tomorrow night we are doing run-throughs on the rehearsal stage, where we can see how far we are and hopefully have a show. The interesting thing is that the lighting designer is coming in to take a look, and lighting is a very important part of this show.

What’s up next, after you finish running through Flute in the rehearsal studio?
Then we have to discover the McCaw Hall stage. On Friday, we go on stage and the first rehearsal there is called the “Cue to Cue.” That’s a technical rehearsal where we check out people’s entrances—all sorts of entrances, not only from the stage wings, but also coming from above on a catwalk, for example. We sort all that out at that rehearsal, and make sure everyone knows where they’re coming from and that it’s safe.

Have there been any new developments or surprises in the past week and a half?
We’ve added one or two magical surprises and tricks that I shouldn’t give away to the audience yet. If you’re in an opera like The Magic Flute, it’s inevitable that you discover new ideas during the rehearsal process. With a company like Seattle Opera, you can do that, and add new details. It’s very different from where I come from, in Germany, where you have to have everything organized ahead of time because you don’t have any time during rehearsal to add anything new.

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