Letters to Holly

Thursday, January 4

Day Fifteen: Act III Anxiety

I spent more than an hour between work and rehearsal going over my Act III lines to the point that my head was aching and I was mixing up their order. I had to stop. I worried that I had jumbled myself up beyond repair for the night with only a half hour before I was to show up at the theatre.

I arrive to find some construction progress. This is the set with a tad more decor. We have the shell of a stereo and a newer coffee table and a few props including those for the bar.

I was growing more and more impatient and anxious to get Act III rolling and see how well I knew the lines. The reverend and doctor were going over their scripts in the wings as we readied our entrances. And then the announcement came that we were to start from the top, meaning the beginning of the play. Act III would not start for another 2 hours.

I had the Act I and II lines cold, but discovered that the director had decided to Gooper would say all his Act I lines from stage left, not stage right as I had delivered them before. Big Mama heard my first line to her and asked where I would be. When I heard the director tell her, I jogged to the other side for the rest of the act's lines. I'm not standing in place the whole time. I recognize when my lines are coming due and can wander backstage to view the set pieces or chat with actors or sit and sketch. But I don't look at the script. Not at this stage of the play. I would only do that if I badly fumbled a line or a cue. I spy a box of old telephones, a fleet of hanging chandeliers, a 1965 Americana annual (with articles about the proposed Gemini space flights), and the gobos used to create shapes on the spotlights.

When Act III does roll around, it goes badly for the cast. They simply haven't studied the material to the degree I have, and again, it's because they have more lines to cover throughout the play. But also, Act III is the busiest for the actors. Everyone is onstage, milling around and turning to address each other. So when I have my minor slips, I don't feel so bad. I'm the only one pf the major characters not calling for a line. At one point, I don't shout a line during an argument. It's not necessary, but it is there, and I catch eye contact with the director to let him know I realize the error. I also had trouble with the line "It's the poisoning of the whole system due to the failure of the body to eliminate it's poisons." I'm not worried about acting tonight, just getting the right lines out loud.

When we're through, the director says he'll give notes to us before Thursday's rehearsal to draw tonight's work to a close. It's 10 p.m., and the play is running right at 2 hours and 40 minutes. With one planned intermission, we have to trim that down.

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

Picture of the Day
The set so far. That's Doc Baugh on the left, looking at his script.

In the News
The new Congress is sworn in today with a "100 hours" plan for pushing new legislation. This is a bold move, but foolhardy. They Dems haven't enjoyed this kind of power in 12 years, and they're rushing to get all their platform items addressed before the inevitable scandal derails their momentum. It's been two months since the election, and while they may still be flush with excitement and ceremony, we the people have considered them the majority since the results were announced. The party loyalists may have great expectations about progress and reform, but that's a minority within one party. Inevitably we will hear soon about how the New Boss is bullying the Old Boss by skirting house tradition and courtesy, and that's just the schoolyard bickering that creates constituent apathy. Also, Bush seems intent on doing what he planned all along in Iraq, regardless of a perceived Democrat mandate.

The crucial matter for the Dems is to scotch the long-held stereotype of their party as free spenders and pro-bureaucracy. The GOP has inflated the budget deficit to finance a larger government. The Dems have to trim spending to finance their core programs without raising taxes. They do that, and they take away the accusatory GOP cliches. The GOP has to decide which philosophy segment to pursue: Log Cabin, neo-con, moderate, etc. and gel around that in preparation for the 2008 election. But it's much more likely the party will move centrist to separate itself from the administration.

1 comment:

Leanna said...

Thanks for writing this.