Letters to Holly

Tuesday, May 5


I arrived about 20 minutes early to set up the reading table. I found a chair with the number 13 taped to it and took that as a good omen. I nabbed it as my chair. The cast arrived en masse right at seven. We chatted a bit before getting down to business.

I repeated the sitcom approach and the philosophies on sets, props, and accents. I sketched out a set design and pointed out my stolen idea of having offstage actors sit on the sides of our performance space. Everyone will be visible for the entire performance, and the cued actor will simply stand up and walk onto the set periphery. They did ask for smaller script binders, and I promised to contact the author for an electronic copy to reprint at a smaller format. The text will be the same size but we'll probably double the page count to make for smaller dimensions.

I forgot to do roundtable introductions, and the most important introduction was me, the new guy. They all pretty much knew each other. The Mother actress asked if I had suggestions for the character, and I defined her as spoiled instead of senile or crabby. That went over well. We started reading and I timed us.

The reading went very well, and we ended in less than 30 minutes. We agreed that moving around might add some time, but also quicker delivery in some moments will balance that out. I reiterated that we'd start off with no props and then add them as we found them necessary. For instance, Mom uses a bike horn to protest her daughters' notions. We'll use a bike horn. But we'll only pantomime the raised banner for the birthday party.

We talked about language; the first word of the play is "god-damned," we all agreed that wouldn't fly in the church fellowship hall. The suggestion was made that we warn away children from the play because of other language we'll probably leave in, but I wouldn't mind scarring a homeschooler or two.

I gave them my phone number and email, collected theirs, and reminded them that we'd meet Thursday for our first rehearsal. A possible schedule conflict later in the month gave me the chance to dangle the carrot of cutting a rehearsal in the last week. I think every cast wants to have that chance even for a show with less then ten practices.

So, I'm a director now.

Picture of the Day
The first official image from the second Iron Man movie. In the comics, Stark kept a gallery of his various armor suits and could control them all at one time with his super science skills.

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