End of week 2, and almost three sessions spent on the famous act II Skat game scene. I've never had to direct a scene where most of the blocking is determined strictly by the rules of a game. Working it all out had the feel of a treasure hunt. Looking for clues in the text, that enabled me to work out who is sitting next to whom, who deals, who wins, how many tricks etc. I wish Strauss had been more specific in his libretto - all we are told is who deals first… I am grateful for the hours spent playing cards with my family when I was young, especially a version of Belote with elements of Bridge.
There are times when I felt I was going mad - and the singers probably felt the same when we worked it all out and they had to sing complicated music whilst casually playing in strict order. The scene, as far as the playing is concerned, has now the beginnings of fluency, which will allow me to develop the characters and situations further.
Next up for the coming week is the waltz scene following the short duet in the inn. Written as scene change music with curtain down, it has to have a different purpose in Garsington, with no curtain and scene changes in view. The scene must be engaging and support the music, whilst not distracting too much from it.
More feedback on the progress and process to come, no doubt.