Letters to Holly

Wednesday, October 29

Rehearsals 1 and 2

Rehearsal One: The Readthrough
We meet on Monday for the first readthrough. While we were initially told to expect Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday rehearsals, that changed to Monday-Tuesday-Thursday. Either way, that's a nice three-day week. It's a small play. This should be feasible.

We don't have a full cast yet, but those present sit around two tables to read the script. We're told that Dan (Brick from Cat and the PI from January 16) will play Scrooge's nephew and the translator for the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. That ghost never speaks in the book, and the play calls for him to give testimony. Hence the translator. The script specifies an actress here, but the director is doing what she can with whom she can find. However, our bailiff is written as a youngster, and that current actor walks with a cane.

Among those who are present, I am the youngest. By at least 30 years. Dan will skew that curve, but still, we didn't cast either of the young girls who auditioned? They have voices and faces and everything; we can't be picky. Scrooge is already setting the stage for stepping out of the play but will continue if the director can't find someone better.

The reading goes fine. My ghost voice (the typical spectral yodeling) goes over well. I play it for comedy when the ghost obviously doesn't want to co-operate. Also, he faints at one point, and I do my best Looney Tunes "yipe." We're told to start working on English accents. Also, the men must grow out the beards for muttonchops. Hm.

Rehearsal Two: Short Stuff
I arrive straight from the hometown from the funeral.

The play starts with the judge and bailiff who play the contemporary Scrooge and Cratchit. Then we meet the attorneys: Scrooge the prosecutor and Rothschild the defense attorney for the ghosts. Rothschild gives his opening argument and calls up Cratchit as the first witness. That's me. This is where the play begins to quote the story. I mention Marley and the office and my office presence on Christmas Eve. This is as far as we get tonight as our Scrooge is out. We jump ahead for the second-act Cratchit material. I also read for the absent Fred, and I try to make them distinct.

As befits an English court, the witnesses will stand the entire time. I'm OK with this. I again read too fast, and I want to blame the English accent. The director says that she "thinks" I'm trying to do one and encourages everyone else to start practicing their own. I make a note to dust off my CD of author Neil Gaiman reading his kids' stories.

There's a great deal of conversation about blocking details. It's awfully early for this, but it takes up a lot of time. We don't even have the measurements of the stage yet. The director says we might perform on the floor in front of the stage which has yet to be renovated. I like the idea. And that's it. It's very short, but I'm already memorizing the script page layout to help me learn my lines.

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