"Blocking" refers to the director's (and sometimes actors') plan for movement on a stage. Some plays require very precise and deliberate blocking. Other plays need very little. Some directors like to meticulously plan and direct every movement on stage. Still others sit back and let their actors have free reign.
BRICK called for a more stringent blocking plan than any other play we've done at J.L. Mann. One reason for this is the numerous stage combat scenes, but the main reason is because we're doing the play in a very small, empty (I like to call it, "limbo") space. There aren't many visual cues for our audience to know where they are and where they're going. In lieu of this, a very precise stage movement plan is required.
Figuring it all out was exhausting. It took two and a half weeks of after school rehearsals. Next week we begin reviewing our work...making sure that it works. I expect that we'll have to make certain corrections...may even have to rethink a scene or two. Our actors will be off-book (lines memorized) beginning Monday. Seeing them moving in the space without scripts for the first time is sure to inspire a creative blocking idea or two.
Kudos to Stage Manager Mandy Gonzales and her Assistant Stage Manager Taryn Miller (pictured above from the fall 2008 play, MUSEUM). Together they make a great team. The next two weeks will try their patience no doubt...remembering blocking, helping the cast off-book, collecting all the required rehearsal props. Here's hoping the cast remembers to thank their stage managers generously and often.