Letters to Holly

Wednesday, February 27

Day 12: Act Two Fragments

Dad called to say that they are inserting a port in his carotid artery to ease the IV. This will be an outpatient operation, taking maybe 30 minutes. He says his red and white blood cells are rebounding nicely, and the armpit growth is shrinking a bit. That's just after chemo treatment.

A longtime reader anonymous asks: "wait, what does apple juice do to YOU?"

Well, back when I was a boy genius, it used to open a trap door in my tummy. But when My Mom asked about this, I was about 26, and those days were long behind me.

Tonight, like Monday, we chop an act into pieces and focus on movement and tension. It starts with a stage smooch, and we're pretty comfortable with it by now. There are two face smooches and a hand smooch within 15 pages, and there's some flirting. Harmless stuff, even if the actress wears the leopard-print PJs the director is suggesting. I've been lucky int that the gals I've kissed onstage have smelled clean and been personable. I've also been slapped onstage, and that's not nearly as much fun. Also, I learned that if you're going to be slapped onstage, you don't wear a ring in your ear during rehearsals. You only need to learn that once.

We're still changing language as we stroll along. "Make a bunk" becomes "make a break," and we're drowning in "shall"s. The director asks us to provide updated playbill bios. It's not as easy to write as it seems; you usually get a word count, and it always feels like a bragging sheet. But you have to think of it as a reference for the audience. They may have seen you in a previous show but are unable to place you.

We trade horror stories from earlier productions, like the time we used a thawed turkey for a musical. The show ran for three weekends, and we used the same bird for all the shows. I had to carry it around barehanded. The murderer mentions a show where he has to eat a burger onstage, and the backstage crew sabotaged it with hair. In another show, an actor added ice to a glass of water that was to be spilled on him.

The director repeats the improv experiment with the mistress and murderer. It's great to remind us to apply a more natural acting style, but this vedy, vedy British script encourages us to go stiff and formal. The act is coming together well, and the director seems happy with our progress with so many rehearsals to go.

Picture of the Day
Did you know that, in Asia, instead of seeing the man on the moon, they see a rabbit making rice cakes? You probably did.

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