Letters to Holly

Tuesday, November 18

Rehearsal Eight: A Bad Night

We knew we would have headshots made tonight, but it wasn't common knowledge that we'd do publicity photos too. My spring director was there for the former, and the original Marley was there for the latter. We menfolk are in sloppy shape as our muttonchops-to-be are right scraggly. Still, we smiled for the birdie.

The publicity photos for this company are commonly sad. We stand in front of a blank wall with a prop or two in various degrees of costumes. For instance, I was posed in my everyday clothes while wearing a Victorian jacket. I am a slacker waiter, your skater-d for the evening. All the photos are taken from the same distance with the same stiff poses. We never look natural or caught in an organic moment. We are taxidermed. I'm glad this guy feels healthy enough to come out and take our pictures, but we need a new photo philosophy. Maybe creative lighting or selective focus.

The cast tries on different jackets and dresses and hats. The director says she'd like to use props on Thursday, and I hope that means I'll wear the ghost costume. We were told last week to be offbook for this Thursday, but, just as we take the staging area, she announces Monday is the new deadline. I'm glad to get four more days to nail down my lines, but I busted my tush this weekend to learn my lines. For a time it looks like we'll have our first full-cast rehearsal. But halfway through Act One, the director reads a part. Did we lose an actress? Is she reading for someone otherwise occupied this evening? I never learn.

Various conversations offstage prove distracting for those of us trying to remember the script, and well begrudgingly check our scripts and look around the room at the peripheral babble. I screw up in my Act One paragraph, but otherwise get through it OK. We're supposed to to the whole play, but a late start makes Act Two impractical tonight. Instead, we run through the busiest part of Act Two. Unfortunately, because we haven't yet measured our stage space, we're crammed together, and walking space is rare. It's awkward staging, and I don't know what benefit it can have. We're learning the wrong dimensions and movement.

We end at 9 p.m., and Act One has taken over an hour. It's still early in the rehearsal time, but we're dragging through the play, and I don't know if the comedy can survive. We need to pick up the pace and stop overworking the lines. This is a long skit, not a true acting piece.

Maybe it's the obligatory low point of any production in progress, but the night is sloppy, and we make no headway. I'm deflated. The atmosphere is too casual, too rudderless, and I'd appreciate some disciplined organization. It makes me cranky.

Picture of the Day
Only the hot hotness of retro disco toys can assuage my grumpiness.

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