Letters to Holly

Thursday, July 23

Mid-Week Rehearsal

It doesn't feel like much of a break from the show, and I suppose that's by design. We can't forget anything if we're only away for a few days. I told the gang to ignore costumes as I'm focusing on tech and lines. I pre-set the stage after Sunday's show so we could start immediately. My cast arrives on time, but the mom actress wants to discuss her character. Uh oh.

I dislike changes this deep into a production. We're halfway done. She wants to add layers to the character. That's fine. She wants to moderate the character's tone. That's fine too. I'm concerned about those changes in delivery throwing off the other actors. She's concerned the audience doesn't like her character and won't invest in the show. I argue they have invested. We get good reactions. They laugh. That's what we want. I also tell her we can't make the play something it isn't. It's a thin sitcom. Nothing more. It has many weaknesses, and we can't reconstruct the script with three performances left. She said she knew I'd say that. Well, sure, it's what I've been saying all along.

I suspect that she's spending too much time reading the play. This sounds counter intuitive. I believe that once the lines and stage business are set in memory, you chuck the script. Looking at it will confuse you. At this point in a show, the script and the onstage material are distinct. Going back to the script once an audience has reacted to you throws you off and leads to just this overthinking. She now seees her script as an audience representative instead of as a theatre representative. Of course we have to consider the audience when doing a show. Sure. But we do that in rehearsal. If we do it now, we invite chaos.

The play goes breezily, and the actors enjoy the relaxed mood. The mom is kinder onstage, and I don't mind the change so long, again, as it doesn't throw off the actors who are accustomed to weeks of the previous delivery style. I tell them afterward that the quick, light style is funny, and funny is what we want. I pat them on the heads and send them on they're way. I still call them "my guys" to the otehr actors. I explain that I've worked with them longer. I love my foundlings, but these are my firstborn, and I'm prejudiced. I don't love them more; I love them more often.

The rest of the show doesn't get the same degree of attention from me. I keep an ear out for sound and light cues, and they go fine. We skip the intermission and finish about 15 minutes early. A third-play actress decides to sneak backstage, and she clobbers our set. I try to sound OK with it and chuckle it away. We're lucky she didn't break our backdrop. As she's leaving the stage, she goes the same way and does it again, and now I want to put her in a catapult. She apologizes a lot.

Just three more times with this show, and we're really and truly done and did and finished and over.

It's almost daylight as I leave to grab fast food and watch the president talk healthcare. He fucking nails it, deflecting every talking point talk radio has used against him for weeks.

I've begun plinking away at the piano using the old starter books. The cats are hypnotized by the resonant wooden box that meows louder than them.

I slept in and missed my run window. I'll do that once I get home tonight. It's rained, and the air is cool.

Picture of the Day

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