Letters to Holly

Monday, October 22

The Clock is Ticking

I met Your Sis at home before going to the play, and she again volunteered to read the cop at rehearsal. Now this is a spouse trap. If I say "no," it sounds like I don't want her involved. If I say "yes," I risk whatever standing I have at the theatre. The director doesn't need the lead actor (which, I am by default) injecting his wife into a rehearsal just two weeks before we open. Now, yes, we still have no cop. Didn't have one tonight, and we needed a reader. But I didn't want it to be her, and it was for purely professional reasons. Reading against the wifey would be fun. Just not now.

We're in the hot stretch. We have six scheduled practices left. Six. And this role isn't cast. I've read and recited against virtually every male actor who stuck around, and a few of the womenfolk. I need some consistency to help me with lines and acting. If that means I get it from someone not my wife, so be it. This is something we could have done a month ago, but not now. Not this soon before we open. Oh, yes, sure, she's welcome to come watch. Come see what we're looking at six practices away from opening night. But she declined, said that if she wasn't reading, she'd probably fall over asleep. Because the week had been rough, not because we'd bore her to death.

Breaking news: The director has just added another rehearsal next weekend, a full run-through. So re-read the above stuff and insert the word "seven."

Friday's practice is the whole thing, too. The director is trying to hammer out the transitions between acts as we're not on a stage, and we have no curtain to draw down. She settles for a short lights-out moment to allow some of the actors to leave. The script allows for this by ending the acts with judge closing the court for the day. But it lacks drama. Again, tonight, we do not have a full cast., but this is the first time I'm trying the whole play without opening my script. The stage manager will read lines if requested, but they won't cue us automatically. We're to attempt to salvage a line before we call for help. I stumble a bit in the opening argument, but I don't call for help and I blame it on a lack of preparation time. That's purely my fault. I should have settled down in my station earlier. I try to talk slower and make every word work for me without falling into monotone. I've started to write out the list of each witness for the three acts and scratch them out after questioning them. It gives me tangible progression during the play.

I do OK, calling for help only twice: Once because I completely blanked on a line and the other for clarification on the wording. I also add a few too many "please"s as I hand evidence to witnesses for identification. There's a tiny stumble in the closing argument, but the monologue held the room. By this I mean I could feel the attention focus on me, not just out of courtesy but with intensity. It's a nice feeling, but you can't milk it. The audience will retract quickly. It went well and left me exhausted as the rehearsal closed. The dancer actress also brought out the heavy lumber in a five-page role where she's all over the emotional map. A proposed Sunday rehearsal falls through. We had one scheduled originally, but the theatre scheduled the auditions for A Christmas Carol that same day and time. I'm relieved. We're doing full-run-throughs more as we approach opening night, and those things will wear me out.

Four of us -- the PI, the defendant, and handwriting expert, and I -- went drinking after and had a cozy, breezy night here in Mayberrry. I had no idea the bar scene was so lively (or loud) at this time of night.

Your Sis and I attended an Oktoberfest cookout Saturday night that went just dandy until the cops broke it up. We had a firepit going, and the state is under a burning ban because of drought. The cranky next-door neighbor complained, and to thank him, our friends balsted their halogen worklights at his window all night.

Official play website

My Big Speech
Punching a Cop Is Bad, Right?

Act Two Redux
Friday Through Sunday
Getting Serious
Our First Friday
Act Three Lines
Dusting Off Act One
Line Trouble
End of Second Week
'Go and Do Likewise, Gents'
Script Work
Walking and Talking
Marking the Floor


First Night
Second Night
Third Night
Fourth Night

Picture of the Day
Comics used to be much more fun.

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