Letters to Holly

Thursday, March 20

Day 23: Finding a Groove

So I was strangely nervous all day about the rehearsal. I reread the script and found quite a few week-old paraphrases, substitutions not mentioned by the director or script supervisor. At this point, it would do more harm to fix them than to stay consistent. The call time was moved up, leaving me half an hour to eat, clean, up, and drive to the clubhouse. This did nothing to help my nerves.

When I arrived, I made sure to spy the new wine glasses and set my bar items. While Prop Lady provides a cooler full of iced Coke, the cooler sits on the floor and I have to disappear entirely from view to bend down and fetch them. I prefer to set a Coke on top of the cooler before the show. After a director and cast huddle, the rehearsal begins, and we treat it like a performance. There's a bit too much energy at first, and I'm not connected with the material. I'm thinking ahead to my next lines and out of synch with my delivery. It takes about seven pages to calm down, and there are no problems after that.

We do have a tech timeout near the end of the first act, and the three actors who have appeared so far chat about community theatre audiences and the script changes made to placate them. Will they object to the word "bastard" more than the onstage murder of a lady close to their age? Will the patrons fret about a play with shacking-up lovers, blackmail and pseudosexual mindgames? How much will they titter anxiously? The tech crew and director request a change in light management and later the director changes a line; this may be still within our bubble for change, but it IS the last minute. The murderer asks me to help him with props as he moves on and offstage during the depicted murders, and that I don't mind at all. Maybe I've developed the classic allegiance with the other actors against those offstage:Us vs. them. The lights are still a problem throughout the play: When someone touches a light switch, the lights have to adjust quickly.

While we rehearse, the clubhouse kitchen staff cleans up their station and listen to their radio. Again, it's good discipline. On offstage cell phone chirps away while the actress is delivering her lines. The director hops onstage to adjust a prop glaring in the lights. The crew chat into their new headphone mics. I don't anything less than an earthquake will distract the actors now. And we have a great rehearsal. We got our lines, and we adjust during the rare stumbles. My lines are there when they're suppose to be. It helps that we practice backstage at breakneck pace, and our subconscious scripts prove they're fully formed and ready even if our forebrains are muddled by blocking and costume chaffing.

I do have to call "time out" before the second act starts as I can't find the suitcase to carry onstage. There isn't an official codeword that I know of, and maybe I could patent one. We need a theatre m'aidez. The play seems to fly by once we get to that act, despite its much longer length. I even managed to preset my last costume for a faster change. We all feel mostly good about what we've done, and we seem to be ready for our first informal audience.

Picture of the Day
Beware. Beaker got backup.

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