Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 17

The director is hobbled.

The time has come for me to pay physically, as well as emotionally and mentally for this show. This is not to say “pay” negatively. This is not like paying my utility bill. This is more like paying for my ticket to Lagoon. Either way, you come out with a little less capital, a little more experience, and sometimes, a little less mobile, in the case of Lagoon and this show.

As with a ride on the Colossus when you aren’t quite prepared for it, hanging lights is a dangerous proposition. Sunday we went into the space and designed our lighting plot for the show. A shoutout right here to Pilar for her help. In my ever enthusiastic way, I attacked those lights as they should have been. But the attacker was not who it should have been. It’s like Rocky going into a bout against Apollo Creed. But instead of Rocky you send Papa Smurf. Still won, but won’t be able to schedule another fight for quite some time. Papa Smurf’s a badass!

My lower to vertebrae are missing a disc and I forget this sometimes.

So, to the pleasure of everyone, including myself, I am walking around like a wilted fern. Except my back doesn’t bend like the stem would.

Back to the show, rehearsals are going well. The space has become an issue that we thought it wouldn’t be. However, just like Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin, we soldier on.

We’ve come to a place where I feel that we are ready for an audience. These actors need some people to watch this show. It is work worthy of watching. As we roll into our last few days of rehearsal, I am more confident with each passing day. This show is strong. And it is precisely what I wanted from the beginning.

Just a note: this show looks awesome under the lights! Every mood, every moment, is playing as well as I can make it. These guys know what to do when they’re onstage. They are consummate professionals, and together I believe that we have crafted a show that people are going to want to watch. I revise. We have crafted a show that people are going to want to watch twice.

Please excuse my absence from the blog the last couple of days. They have been busy, stressful, and physically painful. I am lying flat on my back on our hardwood floor. I am dictating this blog to Becky. Say hi Becky. “Hi, this is Becky.”

We open in three days. I am enthusiastic, excited, and confident. This show is one to be proud of.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 15

Forward to tech!

We held our last rehearsal in the rehearsal space tonight. Running smoothly. I think these actors are ready for an audience. I hope they are learning as much as I am through this process. Or, at least, I hope they’re having as much fun as I am.

It’s almost time to let this baby go. We open in a week! The Monday after we open, we have auditions for our next show, 2 Across. Back to it…

A discovery: Neil Simon and Paul Simon are not the same person. Not everyone understands that.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 14


Trying to learn how to draw up a lighting plot. Ahh, the education of a poor theater company member. So….I’m busy!!! Had a really nice run tonight. Not a train wreck.

Fresh eyes tomorrow. Curious what they have to say. They’re really going to have to use their imagination. They don’t even get lighting.

More tomorrow.

9 days and counting to Opening Day!

Forgive my brevity.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 12

The Real Day 12

Okay, so I was off a day. Now we’ve hit our twelfth day. And we’re in great shape.

One of the characters in the show is pantomimed. The little girl does not physically exist. Strictly within our imaginations. Work with her is like doing stage combat. Specific, subtle choices. Where is her head? Where are her shoulders? How long is her hair?

We’ve approached much of the show this way. Where is the pond? Where is the garden? Where is the tower. The great thing is that if we can imagine it, it is there. And we can. And it is.

Feeling under the weather today. Going to cut this short. Really good work tonight. All of the table work and outside work we’ve been doing is totally showing in the on stage work.

Runs the rest of the week. Fresh eyes Thursday.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 12

Day 12? Really? That really doesn’t seem like many days. Hmm. We’re in damn good shape.

We finished talking through the script tonight, and moved back to scene work. It seems these actors, and their characters, grow over night. Or evolve, more than grow. They always bring their A-game and they are coming with such intricate, intriguing stuff. I love sitting back and watching and evolved, and involving, performance. So much sweeter when you get to see the progression. And their always changing. Always new. Always fresh. It was a pleasure to watch them tonight.

We are shooting for at least three days of full runs next week. I’m excited to see the continuity. It’s difficult when you approach a show scene by scene or, in our case, page by page. Those pages become their own mini-plays, where a complete story is told in a few lines. Once you start piecing them all together, they don’t necessarily fit right away. It takes a little time. I stress transitions. Transitions can never be under-emphasized. They are the glue that keep the pieces together. A strong transition bridges the gap between the end of a good scene, and the beginning of another. Anyway, I’m curious how are pieces will fit. Not nervous. Just…curious.

That’s all for now. I took many more pictures tonight. Should be some cool ones popping up here all the time.

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Day 11

Talking is good.

Saturday night we had a fundraiser for the show. Big Ben Raskin, an old friend of mine from the food service industry, owns an establishment called The Woodshed and threw us a shindig. A great band named Hot Reagan played. Eighties covers. Very cool. Many theatre friends came out, much fun was had. I danced like crazy.

Come 11:30, I was ready for home. I, and I alone. The rest of the crew shut down the place. I left. I arrived home, called my stepmother, and talked. And talked. And... well, you know.

My point: Talking is becoming a lost art. The art of conversation is one, like the art of theatre, that is slowly drifting away from us. In this go-go world, interest is paid to what is fast and shiny. The internet, hi-def t.v., the robots from outer space (They're going to make us their slaves!!! Dont' tell them I said that), these are the things that grab our attention. Little mind is paid to the simple act of sitting down and talking.

Tonight, halfway through the rehearsal process, we talked. In our chairs. With scripts in hand. Just talked. And you know what? It might have been the best rehearsal yet. We didn't even make it through the script. No point was insignificant. No thought ignored. Nothing was off limits!

I've blogged about the limits of the show before. The fact of the matter is the limits that Jeffrey Hatcher put on us with this adaptation are the very limits that allow us to be free. Free from props. Free from costume. Free from everything that doesn't directly serve the story and the characters.

Talking is a freedom. There is no discovery of a script without talking. It sounds simple, I know, but I'm not meaning to be smug. It is something that is often taken for granted. I have a friend who sets aside social nights dedicated to nothing but conversation. Mostly in German, but it's easiest if it's in the language you're most comfortable with. A script must be discussed at length.

Sometimes I wonder whether we forget that others can talk, too. Others want to talk. They have something to say, something to add. Something that might affect you. I told Jeremy and Cassie tonight that in a show like this, talking is everything. Any, every, discovery made by one character directly affects the other, and vice versa. It all counts.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 10

Blog is Back

It was good to get back to work tonight. The cast has been out of town for the past week, and they came back sharp. It really says something about actors if they can walk away for seven days from rehearsals only two weeks in, and they come back without missing a step. Actually, they’re completely off book now, so they’re in better shape than when we last met.

Over the break, I thought a lot about my approach to this script. Am I being too minimal? Too bare? I went back to the script. In the playwright’s notes, I was struck by these passages : “There are no costume changes”, “There are no props”, “There are no sound effects…”, “There should be no attempt to depict the various locations of the play…”. I realized, then, that it is as I’ve thought all along. Story and character, stripped bare to allow only those things to shine through. One last thing Hatcher mentions : “Our goal was to create something rich and theatrical out of something spare and austere, so that by play’s end…the audience could be awed not only by what we had done, but what they had imagined”. What they imagined…

We’ve been doing this little exercise where they run through the show in ten minutes, then five, then two, then one. It’s interesting what we find in running the show that fast. It forces the actors to choose the plot points they think are integral to the show. It allows them, through sheer abandon, to find certain physical traits they might not otherwise, to find pacing that might have been overlooked. It also helps them to bond, to continue to forge this tie of trust. It builds upon their natural chemistry. Plus, it’s flat out hilarious. I love watching these two.

This week: working through the play scene by scene. Next week: RUNS!

See you tomorrow

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