I have been involved in theater for nearly twenty years as a designer, stage manager, producer, and director. I have even on occasion appeared on stage. I thought I had seen it all but during rehearsals for Plaza Suite I got to see something unique for me - a kissing rehearsal.
When you see a romantic scene on tv, film, or on stage hopefully the last thing you are thinking is "I wonder how they choreographed that." If the director and actors do their jobs well, you never will. But... the scene does have to be choreographed: who touches who and where; what kind of kiss; where is the kiss; how long is it; how passionate is it; what is the reaction; are the actors standing, sitting, laying down or some combination; and what happens next? All these questions have to be answered and rehearsed so that the scene looks believable.
Last week after the regular rehearsal was completed our director, Shawn, asked Shelagh and Richard to stick around for a kissing rehearsal. Over the next thirty minutes they blocked out, or choreographed all six kisses - each one unique, consistent with the emotional state of both characters, and building towards the climax of the scene. (Get your minds out of the gutter - this is a PG rated show.)
The rehearsal wasn't nearly as titillating as it might sound. It wasn't much different than watching fight choreography. Hopefully when you see it on stage, you will find it believable and a bit more tender than a fight scene.
-Jennifer Lyman (Plaza Suite Co-Producer)