Letters to Holly

Tuesday, January 16

Day Twenty-One: Getting Technical

Tech Rehearsal is always exhausting and takes all day, but this one seemed to fly by. We're all in costume for the first time as a group, even the kids. They are appropriately adorable. I am not. Big Mama has to wear a ton of makeup to age her, and that brings me to the first surprise of the day. Almost everyone arrives with a make-up kit. Everyone but me. The last theatre I worked with didn't require make-up. I've used make-up before. I know what layers to buy. Because of the bright stage lights, skin washes out, so we have to paint ourselves like Roman whores. Once the audience sees us in that light at a distance, they can't notice the make-up. Hopefully. We don't wear any tonight, but we will need it for the next three rehearsals.

The stage looks fantastic. There wasn't much they could add to it, but the new touches -- paintings, wall patterns, columns, etc. -- make the set look like a real 1950s plantation bedroom. And the yellow-toned stage lights help too. It's a warm set. The immediate backstage area is now a maze of black curtains to baffle offstage noises and hide our movements. Dark lights illuminate the back of the set and the two stations for the people talking to the sound booth and helping with sound cues. Behind all that, however, we are beset by a leaky air system, and nasty brown water plops down throughout the green room. This ready room has a siting table and chairs, a full kitchen, a sofa, and access to both dressing rooms. It's a zoo there. Kids, parents, crew, cast. Above us wafts the stage sounds over the speaker system (the stage is microphoned, not us), and we know we will be here the majority of the time for this day. We arrive at 12:30, and I bet we won't leave before 9. Before we start, Mae, who works at another theatre, informs us that she spotted actor harry Anderson ("Night Court," "Dave's World") and invited him to opening night. I have his autograph when I wrote to him during the "Night Court" heyday, but I'm not going to worry about any star audience members. I gotta a show to hold together.

I didn't bring make-up but I did bring contact lenses, hair gel, shoe polish, t-shirts, and my first wedding ring. My current one doesn't fit the time period, and I have a ring I'm no longer wearing. I asked Your Sis and she had no problem with it and even chastised me a smidge for thinking it would be a problem. I also bring sweet potato pie for tonight's potluck dinner. We'll do the entire show twice, but the first run will be for sound and light cues. We'll stop to adjust volume and let the director pick from among some possible sounds for fireworks, thunder, and dogs.

We do the show once, and it requires an extra hour to fix the effects. The kids don't arrive until the beginning of Act III as the full day might drive them stir crazy. Then we eat, dress, and get to work on the show again.

I get dressed up, and one of Gooper's kids says "you look 20 years weirder." He can't elaborate, but it is a big change, with gelled hair, no glasses, shaven face, and fancy duds. I try later to help him gel his hair, but it's already gooped for a modern style, and all I can do is laminate it with hair gel. My shoes are very tight, and I think this might help Gooper appear unsettled onstage. Or it might distract me to the point where I deliver a line from a completely different show. That's the mystery of live theatre, folks. Even we don't know what we're gonna say. We have to determine when and who will close the bedroom door and how to navigate the backstage curtains to move behind the set. But if we're dealing with those small details, we're obviously getting closer to the end.

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
Day Eighteen: Goopercalypse
Day Nineteen: There Is Not A Doctor In The House
Day Twenty: Back to Words

Picture of the Day
Set's almost finished.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hooray! i checked so many times yesterday and this a.m. for posts. I am riveted by the behind the scenes, insider analysis of the play, character development, etc. I am really looking forwar to seeing it on Sunday!