Letters to Holly

Thursday, April 30

Back on Track

Lest my previous post makes you think Your Sister married a crazy person, I assure you that I'm fine. We're fine. I got rattled, and I'm sorting it out.

I wrote a comic a few years back that included this panel:

Sometimes things stick in my head, and I have to fumigate. That's what happened here. I aired out the skull room. As the panel states, I rearrange the brain cabinetry and get back on track. Also, if I never make another comic, I'm proud as hell of that panel.

It also may have sounded yesterday like I have an attack of resurgent love. No. Hokey smoke, no. Your Sister is my love even after I turn to dust.

+ + +

I parked myself at the local bookstore and blocked half of the play. Stage action should flow naturally, both from my head and between the actors. But it's an equation. To get Actor A to place Prop B while moving to Spot C so Actor F can pick up the prop while moving to Spot K requires lots of script page flipping. I only did 20 pages, but, again, that's half the script, and I think it really makes sense.

In the olden days, scripts were incredibly detailed. They told you where everyone moved to. They also provided stage maps and lists for sound effects and props. Not so anymore. This script has few stage directions, and I'm going to follow them as closely as possible. But there are sometimes a dozen pages between those few directions, and I can't allow my actors to stand still for that long.

I might dust off my Star wars figures and move them around while I read the script aloud. I should invent a theatre playset with figures and the usual props for parlor plays -- a gun, a bottle of scotch, and an ashtray. The Fisher Price Theatre Set could be the Broadway Voltron.
Go Go Power Thespians!
By the Power of Barrymore!
I find your lack of memorization disturbing [force choke].

(Speaking of "by the power of Grayskull," it popped up on this week's House in what turned into an astonishing episode. Also, it seemed House was mirroring my above brain dysfunction. )

I've worked with directors who knew where each actor was going to go before the first readthrough, and I've worked with directors who blocked as we stood around and waited. The latter takes much too long and annoys the cast, particularly when the director changes his mind three times in a half page. I want to make this -- my first such project -- a smooth one. Again, the question of props remain. Some are necessary, some can be pantomimed. But I will bake a birthday cake for the performance. I have a plan for that cake.

Moving Picture of the Day
1979 Star wars drunk driving PSA

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