Letters to Holly

Sunday, November 11

Fifth Show

I made sure to eat plenty during the day. We lunch at a Biergarten in Asheville and I down potato soup right before donning the costume. Backstage, I'm impatient to start. The first housekeeper asks to run our lines for Act One. We do the first four pages which climaxes in a very emotional scene; she's worried most about this part, describing the body on the sidewalk and the defendant's reaction. She stops the reading there, saying the rest of the scene is the easy part.

So, of course that's the part she drops completely during the performance. It's not a vital section -- it's a bit of comedy that also shows my character can be brusque -- but it's half a page. My attorney ends the examination, and she volunteers what she thinks is vital information. However, she states that she doesn't know what is actually going on and meekly apologizes. My character treats her like a parent questioning a lying child and dismisses her again. None of this happens tonight. When we get backstage during intermission, she's aghast. There's no way I could have salvaged that chunk; I can't end my questions and then ask "are you sure that's all?"

The courtroom air is mighty dry, and I chug water all during Act One. It's a nice audience, and we insert longer pauses to allow them to laugh. The private eye is feeling his role tonight, and the cop apparently has family here, as he gets big laughs for very small details. I drop a line in Act Two, but the other actor doesn't even flinch. The Swedes -- housekeeper and bookkeeper -- and the stripper go over big tonight. I nail the cross examination of the defendant, and in fact, it may be my best third act so far. But it doesn't get me a "guilty" verdict. I don't think I was in any way distracted by the song going through my head right before my closing argument (Duran Duran's "The Reflex"), and in fact it may have distracted me from cramming over my lines right before I stand up. This happens sometimes; a song will repeat in my head, sometimes while I'm onstage.

Sunday's show is our last, and I have the mix of relief and surprise that it's over so quickly. I intend to attack the script for this show, wringing out all I can without turning into a ham. Well, a bigger ham.

Oh, lovely. just got his email from the director about the stage-lights:

I am well aware of the behind-the-back manipulation that went on to eliminate my lights. Show business attracts many pathetic little egos who can never be wrong even though it might make them look more attractive in the long run. I can only assume that the pathetic little ego who bulldozed his way into eliminating the lights merely did not want to be ugly alone.


Please accept my apology for the lights' placement on Friday Night. The Stage Managers got surly and resentful and did not set them in their proper positions.
So I broke my embargo and spoke up:

I'll respond to one particular point only:

"Please accept my apology for the lights' placement on Friday Night. The Stage Managers got surly and resentful and did not set them in their proper positions. "

We were asked backstage what the actors thought of the stage lights, specifically the actors sitting in front of them during the show. I answered honestly that they were glaring in my eyes and awfully warm. I worked around it. I turn my head more toward the witnesses, and I chug a lot of water. This wasn't so significant an issue that I felt a need to petition against it. But I was asked, and I answered.

I'm on the periphery on this stage-light conversation and others here in email or during this production, and I saw the question as springing from concern and not an effort to manipulate a stage detail for ego's sake. I'm positive that what I said was a factor in their decision. But the conversation we had was not a surreptitious effort to undermine you, Liz, or plant a flag on this production. Neither the question nor the answer was communicated -- nor I believe intended -- that way.

I can only speak for my own experiences with them, but the stage managers have been nothing but class and support and guiding hands to make this show the best it can be. I've seen no conspiracy of phantoms or Iagos to mold this show in your absence. To paraphrase Magda, I am under the director, and I religious actor and respect director. I'm not the only one.

And I intend, as I'm sure we all do, the make this last show a humdinger. I've dipped deep into the DA office petty cash to encourage the jury to get me the right verdict for once.

Official play website

Fourth Show
Rehearsal Party
Third Show
Second Show
First Show
Biding Time
The Last Rehearsals
Countdown: Two Rehearsals
Extra Drama
Countdown: Three Rehearsals
Countdown: Four Rehearsals
Countdown: Five Rehearsals
Countdown: Six Rehearsals
Countdown: Seven Rehearsals
Clock is Ticking
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
Jesus Christ.

No comments: