Letters to Holly

Tuesday, January 9

Day Eighteen: Goopercalypse

I arrive 20 minutes early to run lines with Mae. We're both playing with pauses and inflection, and that leads to mutual confusion about each other's next line. We sit on the stage couch and quickly hit our moments of quick dialogue. We're to interrupt the other a lot, and we want to appear to be literally thick as thieves. Mae and Gooper are another example of a bad marriage, but they have the same goal, unlike the relationships of Daddy/Mama and Brick/Maggie.

Before we rehearse, the director says he indeed wants Gooper to bring out the birthday cake in Act II. We had talked about this before. I'm handed a square of foam padding for now, and I walk in as the kids gather to sing to Daddy and put the cake on the coffee table in front of everyone. It leaves me with little time to get out of the audience's way, and we'll clean that movement up later. During rehearsal, I notice other actors walk behind the gallery windows, so it's not just Gooper, and it will appear intentional to the audience. The costume director shows me the shoes she found for me; they fit, and I volunteer to bring in brown shoe polish for them. There are more auditions tonight, and a stream of people runs past the stage-right wings and out to the lobby. The kids are a little energetic tonight too, and things get distracting. There are some problems with lines with all the movement and noise.

The reverend and I try some stage business, and we both miss our cues as we navigate the new stage-right wall edge. I have my worst night so far, and blank utterly on a line in Act III. I even say the same line twice because I assume someone else made a mistake. The stage manager shouts out what I'm supposed to say, and I pick it up, a little shocked. I now have a sense of distrust in my lines, and that anxiety helps the performance, I think. Gooper feels edgy for the rest of the show. In fact, the doctor compliments me after the run-through, and it's all I can do to deflect it by saying I bumbled my way to the end. Big Mama, however, EMERGES tonight, and she hits her Act III moments dead on. She even backs me up when she confronts Gooper. She's never bowed up to him before, and because this is her moment, I go with it, stepping back and giving her as much unease as I can, and after the line screw-up, it's considerable. So now I'll run my lines mentally every night just to ensure I have them comfortably accessible before I go onstage.

Mae comes around after rehearsal to mention an Act II line she's stretching out for effect and asks if I can give her that moment before cutting in. It's something I've done every night, assuming she's forgotten something. But I know now to wait until she's through. The post-show notes are short tonight. The director says I'm to really yell for Mama as Act III begins, and I'm to learn a fieldhand song to join an offstage chorus at the end of Act II. Tuesday is scheduled now to be for certain scenes, and I learn I have the night off. I also see my costume hanging in the dressing room, and it has no bowtie. Just a regular tie. Good, I won't have to relearn how to tie it again.

Previous entries:
Day One: Reading It Through
Day Two: Act Two
Day Three: Reading Act Two
Day Four: Talking It Through
Day Five: Blocking Act Two
Day Six: Act Two Redux
Day Seven: Reading Act Three
Day Eight: The Da Gooper Code
Day Nine: The Laying On of Hands
Day Ten: Pictures and Pages
Day Eleven: Onstage
Day Twelve: Memory
Day Thirteen: The Quickie
Day Fourteen: The Lines
Day Fifteen: Act III Anxiety
Day Sixteen: Let's Just Get It Right
Day Seventeen: Molding the Gooper

Picture of the Day
Before we leave, we're shown the cards and posters for the show. The theatre website also has a write-up about the show.

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