Letters to Holly

Monday, December 15

Third Show

I try to arrive early for make-up, but Marley gets there first and grabs the lone chair. It takes half an hour to paint him up. I sit off to the side and quietly run my lines. Our makeup lady is also our costume lady, and she has two parts in the show. When the judge arrives, he immediately argues that she messed up a line. She argues back. The judge won't let it go and asks me for my script. It's in the car, I say. I ain't getting into this. The line doesn't affect the judge anyway; she says it to another actor onstage.

She also offers us the use of another space heater from the warehouse. I volunteer to take it, but only after I confirm with Scrooge that this won't blow our wiring in the dressing room. Nope, he says, as long as the heaters are off before we turn on the stage lights, there will be no problem. Of course it blows our surge protector. At least we have daylight for our costume change.

We vote to run a full rehearsal Thursday night onstage. We decline to just run lines at a table. We need as much familiarity with props as possible. I kinda sorta make the argument that clinches the vote.

Before we go onstage, Mrs. Cratchit pulls me aside to explain why she didn't join us onstage Friday. Normally, she sits in the gallery and leaps up to shout her lines before the bailiff escorts her out. This time she came running from the wings when it was her cue. She explained to me today that she's supposed to startle us with her lines. I try to explain: You can startle Cratchit, but don't startle ME. She laughs it off.

Act One is our strongest yet, and Scrooge is in the zone. We all focus on picking up the pace, and the first act flies by. We have some hiccups. Doc loses his lines, and the judge whispers them to him. Instead of covering it, Doc turns to him and says "I'm sorry?" Twice. During intermission, the attorneys joke about which ending we should have today based on the previous three nights -- A,B, or C.

Act Two boogies along until the future ghost comes onstage. Brick makes a rare mistake and forgets what the ghost is trying to say.

Doc: What was the purpose of your visit that night?
Brick: ... I, um ... wanted to see what he was doing. [Doc locks up, the stage is silent.]
Me (whispering): redemption.
Brick: ... and redemption.

And we're back on track.

Scrooge again has trouble confront my ghost and collapses into blabber when he accuses all the ghosts of conspiring against him. Christmas Past refers to her hand for her lines. But today, the attorneys heed the judge when he whispers the lines to get us through the conclusion, and it's as smooth as we've ever done it. So it's D.

Dan and I joke about his minor mistake, and we all run to our cars wearing half our costumes. It's the end of tech week, this was our eight consecutive day of this show. We're brain dead. I get home, toss mom in the car, drive her to Spartanburg, hit the passenger eject button, and drive back home. And my head is dead dog tired by 9 p.m.

Here's the official review, and again it's designed simply to get everyone's name in print:

Cratchit in full glory:

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