Letters to Holly

Wednesday, November 12

Rehearsals Five and Six: Change and Concern

We got an email earlier Monday saying our Marley had to drop out. It's not a shock; I expected to lose him to focus on chemo and recovery from leukemia. He says he'll still direct the next show, and I hope he can, for his sake. But I don't think it's likely. Again, the script calls for the Cratchit actor to double as Marley, but I, as Cratchit, can't take on that role. I don't look like a contemporary of Scrooge.

No fear, as we met the new Marley, the father of the murderer from the spring play. He's a theatre pro, and he'll be a fine addition. We also finally got our Fred/translator as Brick from Cat arrived. He asked if we're doing accents. He didn't look thrilled with that. I get approval on the skeleton gloves I bought Friday, and we're given an updated schedule.

Currently, we meet at 7, run an act once and go home. That's roughly a 90-minute night, and I'm not comfortable with this. It's too casual. Too easy. We open in a month. We need to hammer these details. The director asks us to imagine what our characters want when they're onstage. Again, I think she's overthinking the play. She later suggests Scrooge is too mean, despite the script making it clear that he's playing up his gruff reputation to set up the revelation that he's still reformed and trying to prove a point. She asks that Scrooge and the defense attorney make their movements more distinct. That note is fine, Scrooge isn't a proper lawyer; he shouldn't move like one.

Learning the lines is easy. The accent and ghost pantomime aren't. Dan and I quickly get into our roles and enjoy teh ghost/translator scene. The judge actor and I are carpooling to the rehearsal; he lives one street over from me.

Rehearsal Six
We run Act One, and I meet the actress playing my wife. She's 70. I hope they don't decide to age Cratchit. He needs to be younger than Scrooge. Everyone does. Scrooge should be the closest to the death cursed by his inhumanity. He is rescued from the grave. We need to emphasize that. I have my Act One and Two lines down, except for the ghost yodeling. That will come as I practice with Brick. We're all told to flatten our accents more, and I worry I'll fall into caricature.

Short rehearsal again, and we're supposed to be off book next Thursday. NEXT THURSDAY?! We've had seven rehearsals! Seven 90-minute rehearsals! Thank God I hammered down my Cratchit lines already. I thought I was jumping the gun. I'd hate to be the other actors, those with reams of script pages to learn. Then again, I have to be onstage with them; I may have to cue folks with improvised lines.

Picture of the Day
We'll need all our space-age technology and courage to get this play right.

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