Letters to Holly

Friday, January 5

Day Sixteen: Let's Just Get It Right

We're back in the lobby tonight as stage construction continues. I haven't looked at my script at all since Wednesday, and I'm feeling wholly confident about my lines. And that usually means trouble. A small flutter of nervousness is required for stage work, else you get complacent and over-confident and your lines scamper off into oblivion. My worst stage work has resulted from a lack of anxiety. Not gut-crushing anxiety (although I used to take Immodium before every performance back in South Carolina), but just enough to make your ears stand up. I run my lines once after work and again stumble over the "poisoning of the system" line. I repeat it five times to get it right.

At the theatre, the director tells Big Daddy and me that he has trick cigars for us to use. I'm already thinking for dickish ways for Gooper to light it, maybe lighting a match on the doorframe. We all sit on the improvised furniture to take notes from last night. Act III is so new to folks that we don't have many notes for it, but there are detailed enunciation notes for Acts I and II. I am again reminded to say all my Act I lines offstage left. I glance through the script as notes are given, and I discover that my memory is so active that I'm memorizing random lines as I read. So I stop. I don't need confusing bits of dialogue orbiting my lines. The director suggests we start "imaging" our lines, meaning we're to visualize what our character wants in each bit of dialogue. I think I'm OK on this. I know what kind of guy Gooper is and how he might behave, but I won't cement his reactions to others until we're closer to performance. I believe in consistency onstage; I don't want to throw off the other actors with inc front of an audience. They;ll do enough to distract us on their own.

As we run Act II, there are still planty of problems with lines. Some of us grab scripts midway. The assistant stage manager is offering lines when prompted and sometimes when she's not. In one moment, Gooper starts his sales pitch and corrects himself to find the right angle. I do this and sell the correction with a hard stop, a chuckle, and the next words. Victoria thinks this is real, that I'm really confused, and she says "no, you're OK." I'm now really confused. I knew that was right, but did it not come out right? I stare blankly at her, and she again assures me I had it right. Then I realize what happened, but I don't want to point it out. She bought my gesture as real, but there's no need to delineate that. Let her think I slipped up. Let's keep the scene moving. But now I'm lost. I can't remember where to pick up from. Or rather, I know where I am, but I can't find the words to start again. I take a second, find the place mentally, and start just as Maggie, trying to spark my memory, starts her line before mine. We're talking all over each other. We both realize it, crack up, apologize, and pause. She says her line, and I get back into the sales pitch. I have prop paperwork to show Big mama tonight, and it helps the acting. I'm already using it in gestures. It feels natural.

Unfortunately, I do miss a line tonight as Doc Baugh has trouble with his. Now, I'm starting to worry about him and the Reverend. They have the fewest lines of any adults in the play, and they are among the oldest. I've had my moments onstage with older men who have line trouble. They've blanked. Horribly. And I'm beginning to wonder abut these two. Nice guys. Chatty. Happy. But if I can sit myself down and get Gooper's lines, they can get theirs. They have maybe thirty lines between them the whole play. When Doc has his trouble in this scene, it throws me off. So I'm going to have to prepare for this kind of moment in front of an audience. I'll need emergency cue lines in my head for them and may have to adjust my lines to pick up where they dropped off.

After running Act III, the stage manager hands out scraps of paper noting where we deviated from the script. I don't have many citations, and I can correct myself over the weekend. The rest of us are dismissed as Maggie, Brick, and Big Daddy work on scenes from the first two acts. It's an early night. We pick up again Sunday night, my first Sunday night rehearsal of the play.

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

+ + +

The NFL playoffs start tomorrow, so let's take a look back at the picks Your Sis and I made:

Her Teams
New England (12-4), NY Jets (10-6), Oakland (2-14)
Philly (10-6), Detroit (3-13)

Oakland's coach quit after one season, Detroit's offensive coordinator (a former head coach in St. Louis) is rumored to be a frontrunner for the now-vacant Miami Atlanta and Miami jobs. New England and the Jets play each other this weekend. Philly plays the New York Giants this weekend. The playoffs are on, and if you lose, you go home.
Number of her teams that could win the Super Bowl: 3

My Teams
Miami (6-10), Pittsburgh (8-8)
Philly (10-6), Carolina (8-8)

The coaches of both Miami and Pittsburgh left this week, and Carolina stumbled to a .500 record to end the season.
Number of her teams that could win the Super Bowl: 1 (and it's one that she picked also)

Picture of the Day
The 300 posters are out in Great Britain. This is the best one.

No comments: