Submitted Date 05/07/2019

Great Rehearsals
Age 20, 1964
The Tanglewood Music Festival, Lenox, Massachusetts
& The Sharon Playhouse (summer stock), Sharon, Connecticut

-- This is one poem, in an autobiographical series of poems, I posted here at WriteSpike. Go to my stories section for others. They are in chronological order. --

The sculptor's hand the figures slumbering in the stone.
~ Michelangelo ~

The rehearsal is where it all happens for an actor.
~ Wayne Rogers ~

At the Paris Opera
I saw a ballet of Stravinsky's
The Rite of Spring
and on Broadway,
West Side Story
and a play by Tennessee Williams

yet my favorite performances
were rough and incomplete
allowing me
to see inner workings
to see more than polish
to see the gears
that normally are hidden

under the soft morning light
of the Tanglewood tent
I watched and listened
to Pierre Monteux
rehearse Brahms 4th Symphony
working his way through a forest of sound

sitting close
and knowing the music well
I could see sweat
on the performers' faces
as the conductor let
the orchestra play
for only minutes
before stopping
and clearing the path ahead --
by shaping the color and tone
of each instrument,
merging feelings and sensations
in delicate slow motion

at the Sharon Playhouse
I sat in the front row
as my adult friend Atwood
directed a rehearsal of
Albee's A Delicate Balance
scaling it in space and time

set in a living room
he moved actors, props, and lighting
forward and back -
the arc of the entire work
clearly in mind
with his particular interpretation
of this complex work

for five hours
he carved twenty minutes of the play --
constructing dialogues and monologues,
comings and goings
rage and silence
while an invisible metronome kept time
and the meaning emerged line by line

like watching a sculptor
pull a figure from stone

I knew I had glimpsed the core:--
two master craftsmen
giving birth

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  • Jared Clawson 4 months, 1 week ago

    Another great piece. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rick Doble 4 months, 1 week ago

      We spend so much time on the polished finished piece of other artists, I wanted to "look under the hood" and see what that looked like. And as artists, all of us spend more time working with a piece than admiring the finished work.

  • Kiersten Felch 4 months, 1 week ago

    merging feelings and sensations in delicate slow motion
    there are too many beautiful lines in this but I really liked this.

    • Rick Doble 4 months, 1 week ago

      Thanks -- glad that there were so many good lines you had trouble choosing the best ones! But I really like the one you pointed out. I learn something myself from all the comments I get here.

  • Tomas Chough 4 months, 1 week ago

    It's pretty amazing how many details you can remember. Feels like you were there yesterday. Great work!

    • Rick Doble 4 months ago

      I often remember past events in pictures, so I just have to describe the scenes along with my emotions.

  • Miranda Fotia 4 months ago

    Sounds like a beautiful performance to watch unfold. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Rick Doble 3 months, 4 weeks ago

      It was quite different from a finished work but at the same time, I could imagine the finished work.