Letters to Holly

Thursday, October 11


We have an early call time to take playbill headshots. I eat a heavy Mexican lunch around 2 because I won't have time for supper before or during rehearsal, and I use the lunch to go over Act One lines. When we arrive, the actor playing the father-in-law insists on taking publicity photos. I didn't get word about this before, and I have no costume to wear. I took my suit back home.

Now this is the guy who was off-book first with his lines and presented a very professional attitude, but now he's anxious. He seems to be in a big hurry, which would be understandable if he had to get the pics to the newspaper tonight, but the paper prints and mails on Wednesdays. He can't possibly make the last paper of the week tonight. I change into the top half of the suit I tried on last week. He sets up the shots he wants with the defendant, gangster, and both attorneys. And one of the guns we pick up from the prop room basket of toy guns. It's hard to understand just what kind of positions he wants, and it takes him a while to set us up. And this doesn't help his anxiety. He also apparently has a burgeoning grudge with the director over his ideas for how things should be. In a recent email, the director threatened to quit if he doesn't knock it off. Yes, please, let's make this production more difficult. As I type this, emails between the two continue to fly by, and they apparently don't know how to turn off the "group mailing" option.

I get my headshot taken between publicity photos. We don't have all the cast here. Again. Oddly enough, at least one Act One actor shows up for the headshot but then leaves for the night before she can rehearse. We again have no cop or widow, played by two students from the local college. We haven't see them in a week. Brick from Cat is here, however, dressed in a suit he owns, and he very much look the part of the PI. He also reads it very well. We chat before rehearsal and talk about the play and doings at the theatre where we performed before. I probably won't do another play until Spring, and that might be the Schoolhouse Rock musical. It's too enticing to let go by.

I do Act One (35 pages) without my script and call for lines a few times. Luckily, I have the other actors to bail me out. I have trouble with the small lines ("that's all" versus "your witness," etc.), but I can hit the major points of conversation. Because the first housekeeper and the cop and the widow are absent, the gal playing my secretary again reads those parts. Later on, the defendant's real-life son pitches in, adopting a high falsetto for the housekeeper lines.

We're about four lines into the widow scene when the director enters the room, points dramatically to my secretary reading on the witness stand, and says "you're our widow." And just like that, the gal who has been there virtually every night even though she has no speaking lines gets a speaking role because the first actress flaked out on us. And both deserve what they get. This also now pits the secretary actress and the defendant against each other, and as old friends, they relish it. Their end of the act staredown now has ten times the cattiness. They trade wigs and try on dresses between their lines.

Official play website

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

Pictures of the Day
That's the gangster on the left. I'm standing intentionally in front of a wall socket to hide it.

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