Friday, February 29, 2008

The Final Rehearsal

When you think about it, that's what a pick up rehearsal is. At least when you are just doing a two weekend show. Believe it or not, I never really thought of a pick-up in that light before. I guess usually it is just a rest stop between weekends...often times a sort of exciting time, as I head into the second weekend of a show after a break.

This time, it just seemed like a final rehearsal.

But then again the pick-up rehearsal is always a bit of a strange creature to me. Some plays have them. Some do not. I think all should, on the community level. One show I was in had half of one, skipping all of my action, and I did in fact feel cheated. That was because the rest of the cast did was is often the temptation to do...turned the rehearsal into a farce.

I am not certain when this tradition came about, or why it did. I can see, perhaps, the thought behind it. "We have already successfully performed the show one whole weekend, so we have it. There is no need to be tense now. We can kick back a bit, and enjoy ourselves for a change at a rehearsal."

This is not without merit. And I do think that a pick-up should be more light hearted, in most cases than a tech week rehearsal, it should not be out of control either.

The fact remain, however, that most directors I have worked for have insisted on a totally straight up pick-up rehearsal. That is what happened last night, though, like most "serious" pick-ups, there were moments of levity during the performances. Probably about as much as could be handled. Maybe a little more was possible.

All that aside, it is still a strange feeling. Having gotten over tech week, and the concerns of an opening night and weekend. Then having had nothing to do with the show for several days. Then, to return, and do the show again. Sometimes it feels like a half-asleep/half-awake dream; the goal of the rehearsal is still there, but the anticipation, pressure, stress and calculation is not. As though we were all putting on a play about a bunch of people rehearsing. (This touch of surrealism is what I think contributes to the goof off versions of pick ups.)

Ours was made extra weird by the fact we had none of our props or furniture. In most cases, you use the same set and props. But due to logistics, we could not. Which is fine, we did not really need them at this point. But, being totally off book, with block and lines, and having performed the show twice, it was weird to be that far along, and using just folding chairs in the chapel to represent all of the furniture. As though we had all gone back in time 6 weeks, and replaced our "early production" selves, but forgot to bring our stuff.

The pick-up rehearsal...

As for the actual work done, it was productive, weirdness aside. Each character, said the director, had "new moments" they brought to the rehearsal. Extra glances, different line deliveries. Keener insights into speeches. I myself felt a few places, (maybe two or three) where I felt open to something different. The pressure being off, I suppose, and the 5 days break allowed more muses to come into play, I would gather. One of the upsides to the oddness of the pick-up.

"Alais" came to me afterwards. She decided, for her own sake, to add a bit of back story between my character (Geoff) and her own. To give her something to work on, or play around with mentally when she has less to do up front.

I agreed to this.

Indeed, Alais does have some intense scenes center stage, which are often followed by long periods of saying nothing. I can understand why the actress would want something to play with. I am lucky, in that regard. Geoff is often in the background, but I know why he is; Geoff is always processing the data that is coming in. Always gathering information, processing in, making use of what he can, and discarding the rest. Planning. Configuring. As Henry describes him he's not flesh but "A device, with wheels, and gears". When I spend so much time in the background with nothing to say, I have the benefit of spinning those gears, inwardly. Hopefully that shows, outwardly, should someone choose to watch me during one of those scenes.

Exactly what kind of history "Alais" has in mind, I know not. I will ask her on Saturday. Perhaps. Maybe it would be more organic if I did not. I will ponder the notion.

Two more performances. Then I am without a show again, and I must begin looking for the next theatrical adventure. Nothing jumps out at me. The Old Opera House not only has set some policy changes that I find uncomfortable, but the next show is "Bye,Bye, Birdie"...something I have no interest in. I have no idea what other area theatres are doing.

But first things first. Another reminder for any loyal blog readers that are nearby to come see me in "The Lion in Winter". The link for the Full Circle Theater Company is in my links section. Go there for info.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Second Go

In some ways opening, as well as it went, felt like a final dress rehearsal. I am very proud of what we did, and the audience enjoyed it. But there was still that feeling of "not quite".

Today was in some ways like our first rehearsal. At least the first one for which we felt totally prepared, I dare say. For this reason, there were fewer missed lines, smoother tech transitions, and by and large, good performances. I would say overall the energy was marginally higher than last night's, in some places.

From a production and performing stand point, we did quite well. Perhaps our best run though of the show. For this I am proud, as are the others, I would imagine.

Sadly, the audience, though of comparable size to last night, was not as responsive. They laughed, but not as much. So the whole package was not as satisfying as it might have been.

I know. A job well done should be it's own reward for an actor. And it is. We all should, strictly speaking, feel just as good about a show in front of an empty room as we do with a full house. Such is the way of professionals, right?

Let's get real.

Yes, an actor should always give his best, regardless of the audience. But practically speaking, even Broadway actors are just people. Even those who do this for a living like to be acknowledged. To that end, being human, we all want a happy, responsive crowd. We want tears for our dramas, and laughs for our comedies, and enthusiastic applause at the end of anything. It's not a crime, I say, even if, in the end, we want to be as good regardless of the audience, we know that a little part of us improves every time someone laughs or claps. And I feel know shame in saying that the audience is the extra character...without which, a show is never 100%. No matter what the Equity people may say.

So, we are in fact proud of our performance tonight. I felt good, and the director said she was pleased. Mission accomplished, but I hope for a more responsive crowd next week.

Does not have to be huge, though that is its own reward. But better a responsive group of 30, than a silent group of 200. I have felt that throughout my whole career and still do.

We have some word of mouth going for us, so we shall see.

Pick up rehearsal on Thursday. Until then, a break of several days.

Opening Night

Well, there you have it! We have opened the show, and I have nary a complaint about it!

I think the crowd was 25-30 people. Not bad for a new company still finding its way. I have been advertising it to everyone i know, and a few people I do not. Including here. The reviews are in, and we did great, so tell your friends, and come see this show!

There were some rusty patches. But very small ones. Some line drops that were covered instantly. A few lines flubs, including my own. Nothing that the audience would have noticed, I think, but I still felt silly having messed it up.

Despite the smallness of the crowd, there clearly were laughing in several parts. Not all the ones I would have expected, but as a counter, they laughed at some thinks rather heartily that I did not think they would.

Also, the show got better as the night wore on. Later scenes having more energy than earlier ones, until the final scene, in my view, was dead on where we wanted it to be. "Eleanor" mentioned that she felt the energy ebbed and flowed throughout the night, but did concur that the final scene was very high on energy and drama.

I suppose if you get one scene to stand out, it is nice to have it be the final, and climactic scene in the play.

I like it for other reasons. For me, I play Geoff as cold, calculating, and usually in complete control for 95% of the play. But in the final scene, based on a choice I made, I get the opportunity to have what I call a "Richard" moment. In other words, to be quite passionate, and loud. It is the only time in the play I really do this, and I think it is made all the more powerful by how it contrasts to the quietness I bring to the rest of the play.

It was intense to me as well. It always is, but I felt that she and I, along with some of the others, were playing off of each other so well that I my own parlance..."fell it in my face". Sometimes when a certain moment or part is of a high enough level of intensity, my face gets washed in a sort of almost tingling, partially burning sensation. Physiologically I imagine it is because there is more blood going to my face at that moment. But it is brought about by those moments of intensity you hope for in drama. Moment that never quite show up just from yelling alone...but from yelling mixed with the correct atmosphere.

Tonight was such an atmosphere. And the best part is, coming down from that sensation is also a useful sensation in many contexts. As it was tonight in the final scene.

It is a little weird, the venue. We have no access to bathroom the whole time, and back stage space is minimal. And we have to be extra quiet as we walk and communicate. But much more room to be private and spread out than we had in the chapel for the last show we did. ("We" meaning this company.) So you take the good with the bad, as usual.

More good than bad tonight, and I hope it continues to be so.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Lion in Winter Opening

Today is it. We open "The Lion in Winter" at 8pm tonight.

But there is still much work to be I need to be over to the venue as early as 3pm or so, to help movie props and furniture from the practice hall, to the actual theatre. After that we are doing a complete rehearsal of the show before we perform it. I have never done that before, so it should be interesting. Hopefully it will not sap our energy.

Not much to add to I suppose I will be blogging about the day's events this evening when I get home. I will say I personally feel ready to do my part tonight. However it all goes, in regards to quality, attendance and impact, is in the hands of the Divine by and large now.

Friday, February 22, 2008

So Much to Say, Part 3

This third and final installment today is in response to a question asked of me by this fellow blogger.

He had a question about a very old post of mine, involving stage kissing. (In under a month, two people have left comments on posts from way back at the beginning of the blog. I love it.) The post he is referring to is this one.

In that post, I gave some tips on how to perform a stage kiss. D'Balz asked me how a director might interfere with a successful stage kiss. An interesting question indeed.

In my opinion, a director can be detrimental to a stage kiss when they try to over orchestrate the thing. Yes, in certain circumstances, a script may require a kiss to be choreographed step by step down tot he last minute detail. It happens. But overall, i think directions should be as broad and general as possible when directing an actual kiss, (as in lips actually contacting one another, as opposed to masking tricks which only LOOK like kisses.) It must evolve naturally. Though a director sometimes thinks they can and should micro-manage every last aspect of a performance, frequent readers of this blog know that I do not subscribe to that notion. Ergo, a kiss can look worse if a director forces it to go in a way he wants, as opposed to the way the two performers are comfortable. If the script calls for a kiss at a certain moment, than of course, it should occur at that moment. But a good director, who really wants things to look natural, will take his cues from the two performers in regards to the moments leading up to the kiss. Otherwise, it invites the worst kind of awkwardness.

That's my most detailed answer, I would say.

I think that a director can also indirectly be detrimental to a stage kiss, if they do not make certain to silence of of the hooting and snickering that is likely to take place among a cast on the community level, the first few times a kiss is rehearsed. Regardless of how seasoned performers may be, nobody likes to be ogled or taunted during such moments on stage. It is the director's responsibility to make sure the performers are comfortable, in order to get a good kiss out of them. A large part of that is to make sure everyone else in the cast is behaving themselves.

Sometimes this is done be rehearsing the kiss in private with just the involved actors and nobody else. But this can be overdone, as it puts off the need to get used to people watching it happen. So when the rest of the gang is there during a kissing rehearsal, it is vital that the director maintain an atmosphere of respect and civility.

I hope that answered your question, D'Balz. Thank you for asking it, and for visiting Always Off Book. Check back often for more acting thoughts!

So Much to Say, Part 2

This entry does not have anything to do with acting per se, but it does have to do with me, and since I own the blog...

I wanted to point out some new links in my link section, over to the left of your screen. I have added a link to the Full Circle Theatre Company, who is producing "The Lion in Winter" that I am in right now.

I have also included a link to my new LIVE internet radio talk show, "Almost Radio, with Ty Unglebower". It normally goes out live on Wednesdays at 11PM, Eastern Standard Time. So if you follow that link at that time, you can hear me live, and call in if you want. The best part is, however, that the show is automatically archived into a streaming feed. So anytime after the live show, if you follow the exact same link, a recording of my most recent show will appear, and play automatically for you to listen to. You cannot beat that. Please stop by and give a listen!

Finally, I added a link to my friend's travel site. Tally is a friend of mine from college, and her site, is part blog, part informative site, part photo display sight. She offers tips on traveling, fun facts, and makes accounts of her travels to various places. Currently she is in Germany. So please swing by her sight...and tell her Ty sent you.

And now, one final entry in this trifecta...

So Much To Say..Part 1

I have been unusually derelict in my blogging duties this week. And it is tech week, for shame! But, as amazing as this may sound, i have lately had several other things going on that have taken up some of my free time other than theatre. I know, sac religious, isn't? Yet true.

I have so much to update you on, that I have broken it down into several entries. First and fore most, let me talk about the last three rehearsals for tech week.

They were all in the chapel. All three were roughly the same in regards to productivity and accomplishment. Sort of an even keel type of thing. I cannot really say each one has gotten better than the last, but all three for the most part maintained the status quo we established earlier in the week. A few things here and there, spread throughout the 3 days are noteworthy, as opposed to an separate account of each night's rehearsals.

The other day, i forgot to put on my ring for the first scene. Though we are not doing costumes this week, I confess to feel somewhat off in my performance without it. So strange how things like that can through off an actor's equilibrium.

Well, perhaps that is overstating the sensation. I still did the scene just fine. But the ring not being there was in fact a rather glaring problem. So I retrieved it for the rest of the play, and all was well.

I have developed, what I think, are better line readings in several cases with some of my lines. Geoff has a several lines that just sort of pop in there at some points in a conversation. I have, throughout the last three nights, found better motivations for them, and they have gone easier than they had been going.

So has one scene I have with John. It had never really gone poorly, but it was just one of those scenes, on in this case, scene sections, that just did not flow smoothly out of my mouth. John and I ran the lines several times in a row before rehearsal one night, and i finally started to nail it into my head. Knock on wood, the scene now feels much smoother from my end than it previously did. So that is taken care of, by and large.

I also thought of something rather obvious this week. During a very tense, climactic scene, I have started to breath heavier intentionally. It sounds obvious, but panting like that it actual counter intuitive when your body does not literally require the oxygen in those levels. And indeed, one cannot go overboard, or fainting is likely, but trust me, i am not doing it THAT much. I just thought giving the impression of a bit of labored breathing might ad to the scene. Simple enough.

My ring flew off during a struggling in the last scene one night. I picked it up in character as best as I could. Not so much out of a need for him to have it on at that exact minute, but out of fear it would be stepped on and crushed, being the cheap piece of metal it is. (I got it in a toy store. It's called "Super-Bling". It's as durable as something by that name sounds like it would be.)

I do not even show up in Act 2 for about a half an hour. (one long scene, and one shorter one before I come on stage.) So I needed something to keep the time moving. I am proud to report I finished an entire Sudoku puzzle during the performance of act 2 up until my entrance. Yes, it was on easy level, but try working those things when you have Henry and Eleanor yelling at each other about pork in the tree tops, 3 feet away from you. I impressed myself.

Last night we obtained to very handsome, antique wine barrels. They are needed for a scene in the wine cellar. We had previously used a painting of them, but once the director got her hands on these, we opted for the real thing. Very nice indeed. One is so cumbersome that it will stay on stage the whole show, disguised as a table until it is needed as a barrel.

Then last night, tempers flared. Mine included. I will not document the occurrence in detail, as those that were there know to what i am, referring. But this blog is meant to be an account of what happens in a show, and so I include it here. Suffice to say that in my opinion, under the right (o in this case, wrong) conditions, people who volunteer their free time in a community theatre can reach the boiling point faster than Equity people who are being paid to stay quiet, and tolerant. While we all want to do the best we can, i think that sometimes everyone in community theatre, (myself also) needs to always remember the nature of community theatre...that it is made up of volunteers and not professionals. That is all I wish to say on that ugliness.

As for tonight, the rehearsal is to be at the home of the director. It is to be a line rehearsal only, no props, no blocking. I may not be able to make it, as an ice and snow storm is blanketing the north east, my area included, as well as the area where the director's house is. I am committed, but the highway I take to that town is treacherous enough any day. Fridays are worse, and added ice to it would complicate matters even further. I am going to stay on top of things and make a decision as the day wears on.

Such was the nature of the last three nights of rehearsal. Tomorrow we open. (After rehearsing the show once over before hand, on the stage.) And now, other entries for other things.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Those Glorious Moments of Clicking...

Score! Despite tonight's rehearsal being in the director's home, (which causes cramping issues) this was, as far as I am concerned, our best rehearsal yet! We were not without our flubs, BUT, they were very easily swallowed up by all the things that went right.

To begin with, we were in costume, which always helps. (Though my pants were temporarily missing. Thankfully for my cast, I had my street clothes with me.) Once located, however, all was well with costumes.

"Eleanor" added some trim to my tunic. It looks good. Sort of Romesque, to coin a word. I do like the way it looks, and it suits Geoffrey, somehow, if a color can suit a character. It seems the trim is slightly off center and will be redone soon. Had she not told me I might not have noticed, but she is the costume lady, and that is what she is there for. (That and of course, playing Eleanor...both jobs done marvelously.)

As is the case with 98% of all things theatrical, energy is key, and we all had it in spades tonight. On a Monday evening, who knew? Maybe it was because lots of people were off for President's Day. Maybe everyone last night had a notion to kick it into overdrive at the exact same time. Or maybe there is no explanation for why and when the magic comes when it does. The point is, it came tonight.

I could feel it from the moment I started my first lines. At the same time, or perhaps because of it, I found a whole new perspective for the first scene...bemusement. Geoff is actually not quite plotting yet. At least when I played my first scene of the show tonight, I felt, all of the sudden, that he did not have to be plotting anything just yet. He could just be observing the tornadop around him for a while before jumping in himself. This gave me a sense of freedom as the show opened which I did not feel before. A sense of allowing the plot to come to Geoff, instead of having him run out in the middle of a field to meet it. The moment I began to think about it that way, the first scene took on new life. And perhaps that is what contributed to my overall ehanced experience tonight. But certainly not the only thing.

There is a concept in theatre for me, that I experience from the inside, words for which I have not quite come up with yet. The best I have come up with is "beams of light", but that is still not quite it. That is not fluid enough. But when a play is going right, and actors are hitting their marks, as well as interacting perfectly with one another, thereby causing the whole cast to interact with the audiences, energy flows in and out of individual souls at rapid speeds. It happens when an actor shoots another actor a look. Or when a speech reaches every last hearts in the room, and not just every set of ears. When lines you have never laughed at get laughed at, and things you normally trip over right themselves on the spot. This energy darts in and out of each actor, but also fills the room. And, when the time comes, fills the audience. And the best part is, the more is passes through people, the stronger it gets, as opposed to weaker.

The beginnings of that flight of the so called "light beams" began today. It was that which I started to feel. And if it increases as each night of this week goes the time we open, it will be quite the intricate and wonderful dance between the individual performances, and the moods the light illicit.

One such moment, totally organic, that sprung forth naturally from the scene, without any pre-planning on anyone's part, came in a scene with myself and "John".

"John" is a great actor, who I am only getting to work with for the first time in this play, despite knowing him for years. The character of course, is a spoiled little brat, and quite obnoxious. This was being played up in most excellent fashion during the scene in question. So much so, that when "John" delivered one of his lines in a new, but effective sing-songy mocking whine of a way, my own Geoffrey instantly delivered his next line in the exact same tone, much to the laughter of everyone around us.

The great luck of it is...his line, and my own, have the exact same number of syllables. This would not have to be true for it to work, but it certainly works 10 times better given the equal syllables. Plus, it allows me a chance to contrast Geoff's normally cool and collected persona with a moment of obvious irritation, bordering on anger, with Johnny. If that was not enough, it breaks the scene up a little bit. A scene that otherwise can seem a bit "one note".

The director liked it, and it is now part of the show. I am pleased.

I am also pleased with the final exchange I have with Eleanor. Her and I worked out a way in which Geoffrey has to hand her something in the final scene. We had not been sure how to play it, and several versions have been tried. But last night, and tonight, I think we have perfected what we want. At the risk of sounded arrogant, I will say I am very proud of how I handle that part. Almost as proud as the John response I mentioned a moment ago.

Actually, there was a lot to be proud of tonight. For everyone, in fact. Which I will not spoil with too much more technical analysis...except to say that for unknown reasons, our electric candles were burning blue and purple light tonight. The castle was suddenly, in the words of "Henry", Studio 54. (This he mentioned in character during a scene, to give an idea of how things started to proceed near the end.)

The point is, however, we have taken off. Things "clicked" in more moments than one. Many more. And, if we want it to, i feel they will go right on clicking through to opening night.

The Lion in Winter has been unleashed. Are you ready for it?

Lion in Winter's Second Tech Day

First off, my thanks to "Anonymous" for your well wishes. They are appreciated.

I would have written yesterday, but again I was rather tired. Here is how things went down at the theatre on Sunday.

It was not quite as long as the previous night, to start with. And despite the absence of a cast member, and few potholes, (myself included), I will say the show went better than the night before.

The first thing about yesterday were costumes. I wore mine for the first time in an actual practice. There are some frills and such to be added later, but overall it seems appropriate, and feels totally comfortable. I can move in it, sit in it, and do all the actions required of me. I believe tunic is the technical term for what it is called, though I am not sure. And extra long short...down to about my knees, under which I wear black sweatpants. Mine is dark brown in color. A black belt word around my waste on the outside. My standard "theatre shoes" will be covered in such a way as to suggest time appropriate footwear.

And of course my "super-bling" 50 cent ring I purchased a few eeks ago, and have been wearing. The director also said something about some of us wearing something around our necks, a necklace perhaps? Before I had a chance to clarify, she had moved on to an other topic, and forgot all about it until I was writing this entry.

All and all, a very simple, medieval costume.

Something else that was new yesterday was the tapestry "booth" in which John and I will hide during the final scene in act 1. The set up had never been used before, and I was inside of it during the actual scene before I realized I did not know exactly which curtains to come out of, or which to pull to the side in order to reveal John later on. So unfortunately, I had to leave the stage during the scene and ask the stage manager what to do, before returning to my hidden space.

It really is like a booth. The curtains are quite thick, and the rear is backed up against the upstage wall of the performance space itself. A unusual sensation being "on stage" and yet so totally removed from the action. I could pass out, and nobody in the audience or on stage would even know it had happened, if I feel a certain way. If I feel forward though, I would come through the curtain and they certainly would know. But the point is, it is quite shut off from the performance space.

"John" and I have not tried it out together yet as he was not there. But there should be room for two of us. Though even if there is not room for the booth of us behind the curtains, I truly have no clue what can be done about it now.

And the stage is still cut in half by banners and tapestries and such, in some scenes, limited the workable room to almost zero. I would say 80% of my blocking that I have practiced the last few weeks has had to be altered on the spot as I perform, given the shrinkage of the stage. I am constantly running into furniture. Plus the shrinkage has been made even worse by the fact that apparently the lights do not reach to the sides of the stage, meaning every has to be even CLOSER to everything else. That is one of the must frustrating aspects of this venue. You can't move on it.

As for the actual acting yesterday, I suppose it is "getting there". There are still some lines I get tripped up on, and indeed I dropped a minor one in a rehearsal of a scene where I was talking to the ether that was John yesterday. But beyond that, regretful but necessary changing of venues very few days has made getting into character, to the level I am accustomed, a but more laborsome than in other shows in a standard theatre space. I am not concluding that it is impossible. Some moments the last two days have indeed felt quite real. But it is hard to work on nuance when every time you run the scene, the table you need to cross in front of, or the chair you need to sit in is in a different place. (This has happened even within the real stage venue over the last two days, let alone at different venues.) Yet I will find my focus, I am sure. I prefer to find it before opening night, but rare is the time I do not find some degree of grounding by the time the show opens. Even if it is an hour before.

Perhaps I will find it an hour or so before opening while actually rehearsing...the director has called an extra rehearsal to take place right before the actual opening of the show. I have never rehearsed a show, at regular speed, right before performing it. Particularly on opening night. And I may not be able to make it, due to the last minute calling of said rehearsal, but I told the director that I will make every effort to be there.

I am no stranger to performing a show twice in a day. The Old Opera House used to have a policy of performing musicals twice on the first Saturday. (Before switching this two having musicals run on Thursdays as well.) In college, we had several shows that, for whatever reason, were performed twice in one day. Though in those cases there was an audience present both times, and this will merely be a rehearsal before the performance.

In conclusion, unless I am able to get to the last minute rehearsal this Saturday, I have had my second, and final rehearsal of the whole show in the actual venue. Though this week is our final wek of rehearsals, it can really only be called "tech week" in name only, because tonight we will be in the director's home, the following three days in the famous chapel I have mentioned here before, and Friday back in the director's home. no real way to practice technical aspects. Despite the difficulty this presents to actors, I feel sorry for the technical crew quite a bit more. The scene changes were quite rough on the stage yesterday, and they will not have much of a chance to perfect those moments. I have faith in them, though. I just wish they had more time.

But, venue or not, I shall be running the show every night for the next week. This is a plus because it will allow us that repetition that is so vital to perfecting a show. Repetition which was hard to come by until this week. I am sure much will look better on Thursday night, as compared to tonight and last night.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Rehearsal and Rebuttal

I hate to have to do this, but I am going to have to mention some unpleasentness.

Someone left a comment on a previous blog entry, presumably someone connected with the show I am in. I mentioned in passing that the director had forgotten the props at her house, and I was eaten alive for it.

Whoever may have written that, I would appreciate being approached directly with any problems you have with what I say. To accuse me of not helping my director is a tad out of line, and not backed up by my history in ANY show I have ever been in. Had my director asked me to go back to her house and help her with props, that is exactly what I would have done. I was not asked to do so.

Secondly, I mentioned the props were forgotten, because my understanding of the director's own words were that she had forgotten them. Whatever the case, it was not said with the malice that your comments were said with, and if you read this, I would like to think as a fellow team member, you could come to me directly, and in private about something. Particularly when it involves my work ethic.

The comments are not being published, but they have been read.

All of that being said...

The marathon rehearsal was a little bit harry at times. Some scenes just sort of dissolved into chaos. And we have even less room to work with than we thought, so there was a lot of actor impromptu blocking going on as we went. Awkward crosses abounded. But it could not be avoided tonight.

One problem is a large banner that is dissecting our performance space. We had about a third less than we thought we did, (which wasn't much to begin with.) That made thing more difficult. But it is to be moved back further tomorrow, if I am not mistaken. That is a relief, as we really could use the extra feet.

The cramped quarters extended back stage too. It is going to be a tight squeeze back there with all of our props, and set pieces. Doable, but certainly a challenge. I am up to it, but I do notice it, for sure.

And of course, this was the first chance the tech crew of three had to move the set around between scenes. Ergo, that required some extra time.

I also tried on my costume. It is a robe, or is it a gown? Either way, I tried it on today. It is to be, as I understood it, hemmed tonight or tomorrow sometime, to be approximately knee length. More word on shoes and pants tomorrow.

We then went through a speed through of some scenes...without emotions, just to get the words and the blocking nailed down. Some of the funnier moment actually came to life more during the speed through than in previous rehearsals. I think because in a play this dialog rich, speed counts. The rapid fire nature of some of the lines gives them more life than a more methodical delivery would be. Though we were not acting per se, the speed with which we were delivering the lines at that point created a substitute that we did not have before, but can add to now that we have seen it.

And I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich during our break.

I know that for such a long rehearsal I have not said much. But when you have that much rought work to do, there is no a whole lot of detailed accounting that can be made. I will say despite the length, I had fun at rehearsal for most of tonight. We will not get many of these nights, in fact only one more. So I am trying to get as much of that "tech week giddiness" as I can during these two days. We are one actor short tomorrow, but without a doubt, I will still find enjoyment in the process.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lion in Winter:Marathon

In a few hours I will leave for our only true tech rehearsal. With a short costume parade type of thing before hand. We have the venue until 11. We start rehearsal at 6. We are to arrive there "as close to 5 as possible."

What a long night this promises to be.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Last Pre-"Tech" Rehearsal

I did not particularly enjoy tonight's rehearsal. Not because it was unproductive. In fact we did smooth out some things. But sometimes you just do not feel a given night of rehearsal is clicking. That it just feels sluggish and unrewarding from the beginning. Not everyone experiences such nights at the same time, but tonight I did.

It wasn't any help that traffic was horrible on the way to rehearsal. After that, the bathroom at the rehearsal building was locked. (Though I jimmied it open with old old ID card I had in my wallet. Sue me.)

Then most of the people were late for rehearsal. And we did not have any props to work with, because the director forgot them.

When we finally did start, we ran the final scene, so the guy who is making the set dressings for it could get a better idea of what to look for. Specially, he is making some dummy wine barrels. Turns out, we will not be able to keep the win barbells in the section of the stage that we have been. So we had to move the chairs representing them, the designer told us, and had to rework some of the blocking. This isn't a huge deal, but it was a bit of a distraction.

As was the fact that we were not running the whole show. Though nobody told me specifically that we would be tonight, I assumed that since we had done so on Sunday, all remaining rehearsals would see us running the whole show. So I was caught a little off guard by that.

When we did run the scene, it was rough. It has always been one of our weaker scenes, but today, at least during the first run through of it, it was particularly slipshod in places.

To add to tonight's lack of enjoyment, we ran my least favorite of all scenes tonight..twice in a row.

I have talked about this scene before.

During that scene, I was told I should probably not relax during rehearsal, and should stand up, and not move, behind the tapestry, so I could "get used to" standing still, as during the play I will not have anywhere to sit. I politely pointed out that I think I could manage to wing it, in regards to standing behind a curtain come opening night, given as how I have been standing for 25 years or so. I wasn't trying to be rude, but in this little tiny room of a rehearsal hall, I am not sure it makes alot of sense for me to practice something that requires no practice..especially when everyone else who is not in the scene is sitting and observing as well. Nothing to brun a barn over, but it has given me some pause.

Speaking of the actual venue, adding to the overall "offness" of this evening for me, we learned that "John" will not be able to come to practice on Sunday. Sunday is one of the two (and only two) four hour days in which we will be able to rehearse on the actual stage before opening. For those keeping track, this means that the whole cast will be together, running the whole show, on the actual stage exactly ONCE before we open. I am all for spontaneity, but I confess a marked increase in apprehension about this. I am sure we will survive, but it is not the kind of thing a cast ideally should be dealing with as they open a show. Especially when an entire week will separate the one and only stage rehearsal, from the opening night. Nothing against "John" of course, but instead of a tech week, we will be having literally, a "tech day"...and that is somewhat troublesome.

At least I myself will have two separate rehearsal days on the actual stage. But without John, against whom I play so much in this show, it will be far from ideal. I can handle it, but sometimes you just want to do more than "handle" something.

We did run the scene with Geoff and Eleanor in her bedroom today. "Eleanor" added an extension of her hand to the scene, which I opted to kiss as I did my usual kneeling down. I will have to do it a few more times to see if it feels right, but it will probably work.

I also made use, in each of the scenes, of the new motivations and inner thought processes I came up with last night and this afternoon before rehearsal, as mentioned in the previous entry. But today was so haphazard that I really did not get a chance to see if they sank in. I am confident most of them will...but it will certainly be a longer seeding process, what with so little time to rehearse on the stage.

But next week we will, in some place or another, at least rehearse the whole shoe each night. (I again assume...) So that will, I hope, go a long way in smoothing out the reaming rough edges. Even if it is in the director's living room.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Delving Into Geoffrey's Soul

Or at least his particular motivations. That is what I have spent the last hour or so doing. I did some last night, and more this afternoon.

Now that I am off book, I can afford to look deeper into what makes this character what he is. The Lion in Winter is a cerebral play, about cerebral people. (Except, perhaps for the John character.) Geoffrey is the most cerebral of them all. It even says so in Goldman's script...

"The most cerebral in a cerebral family."

This is the reason I have been spending some extra time on thinking of Geoffrey's goals, scene by scene. Now, in theory, this is done by every actor in every show they are in. And indeed, I do it, to some extent in every show. But it is an uncommon script that offers so many different possible goals, all legitimate, for any given character at any given moment. So many twists and turns. So many loyalty shifts. So much wit and so much deception. It can be played cold, I imagine, with the actor relying solely on the lines to carry them through. I prefer however to know exactly what Geoff is doing every step of the way...even if what he is doing is the act of trying to figure out what he wants to do. (This occurs a lot for him during the play.)

Of course before now I had an overview of what Geoff was about. I feel better now, though, having gone scene by scene, sometimes line by line, to determine what sort of clever things he may be up to. Not all characters would require that detailed of a study. But as I have said many times in this blog, each show, each character is different, and no one method for performing is going to work under every circumstance. A simple approach to a complex character probably is going to be lacking for a show like this. I have probably not examine the inner workings of a character to this depth since I was in The Laramie Project.

And I welcome it. I love to stretch the thinking muscles of my acting as much as the performance muscles. I consider it a treat most times to have a role which requires intellectual exploration. I feel the character has been rejuvenated in my mind in the last hour or so, and I look forward to putting some of my new conclusions and analysis to work tonight at rehearsal. It has added confidence to my portrayal, and hence will make the scenes stronger.

Here is not the place to mention every single decision and conclusion about Geoff that I have made so far. But I do have some general, broad concepts I will share. These, of course, were always there in the background of my portrayal from the very beginning. YetI have sanded of the edges today, and will continue to do so this week.

1) Geoff NEVER says anything by accident. Whether he is jockeying for position, cutting someone down with his wit, or merely making an observation, it is always done with absolute intent. Words and thoughts are his weapons. Richard would probably never draw his sword unless he felt he had to. Geoff doesn't speak, for the same reasons.

2) Geoff is almost never resigned to defeat. John is used to getting what he wants, and doesn't know how to act when he does not. Eleanor has "suffered more defeats than you have teeth." Richard fights his way through life. But Geoffrey...he is always thinking. Henry calls him "a device, with wheels and gears". A simplistic, but somewhat accurate assessment of the man, I feel. The gears are in fact always turning in Geoff's mind. So when one part of a plan does not pan out, he is instantly concocting something else. Less likely to be distracted by rage, like Richard, or by emotion like his mother, Geoffrey can always take that step back, and reevaluate everything around him, and at given moment he needs or wants to. Knock down Geoffrey's house, and the first thing he will do will be to look at the debris, and determine what can be made from it.

One exception may be in the final scene of the play. For those of you who might come see it but do not know how it ends, I will not spoil it here. But suffice to say, he may briefly be at a loss.

3) He is not simply a device. But he wants to be, and usually is. He succeeds in convincing people that he is such. There is enough flesh there, however, to occasionally slow down the wheels and gears in his head. Not often. Probably only twice in the play. But the moments it happens are among my favorites in the play, because of their contrast to what Geoff normally is.

Again, there are other things I have, upon further study, come to conclude about Geoffrey. But they are either more minor, or more scene specific and complex to go into here. These three characteristics, however, give you the sense of framework around which I am building this character.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

First Full Run-Through for Lion in Winter

I am quite tired, as it was quite a long process. But i did not want to skip days agin, so here is the overview.

To begin with, I neglected to mention the other day that I started with, and decided on the simple ring. The black coloring has worn off, but it is probably just as well. A simple band will be just enough to give me something to do, without being big enough to distract actors or the audience. So I am going with that.

As for tonight...rehearsal was at the director's home. Obviously not an ideal space for a play practice, but it is what we have for now, and we make do damn well. Though I do not envy the director and her family for having all their real furniture shoved to the side in favor of our set, in the middle of their living room. Yet such is the dedication level they have to the show. (Her husband, who plays Henry, directed me in the last show I was in with the same company, back in November.)

In fact, there was an article in a newspaper today about the show, complete with pictures and a link to an online video the news people took. Naturally this was the day I could not make it to practice. But I doubt I would have been in the video anyway, though they might have talked to me for the article. My name is in it, though, and spelled correctly.

I would be happy to provide the link to the video, but for whatever reason, the email containing it never reached me. So if I get it in the future, I will certainly post it.

As for the actual rehearsal, it was our longest one so far, because as the title suggests, we ran the whole show tonight for the first time. So, with line callings, and notes being taken about scene changes and such, (for the techie people that were there tonight), it took just under four hours. Tiring, but I did not mind it that much. We needed to do it eventually. And it being an actual home, I was comfortable enough in the time between my scenes. Plus, "Alais" brought some of her real life birthday cake with her, so I had some of that, and it was good.

Also worked out a far more comfortable "candlestick stunt" with John. Not only does it feel safer, but I think it is slightly more comical. Insomuch as John looks more pathetic, and far less threatening than he did previously. I sort of end up twisting his arm, as he whimpers to the ground, upon attacking me. No sucker punches or anything like that. We have to work it a few more times to get the timing down, but I am satisfied.

As before, I am happy with the progress of the show, despite the rough spots. Others may not be noticing, but I think the rough spots are getting smaller and less frequent. We have trouble spots, of course, but they are becoming more focused. More importantly, entire segments of the play are emerging which we run flawlessly. Which allows for greater depth of performance, and intricate interaction among performers. This is not an easy script to digest in a short amount of time, and given that, the progress we have all made is pleasing to the soul. We do not have a lot of time, but I feel we have enough. I say this because I sense everyone starting to have more fun now. Not that we were void of fun before, but in the last few rehearsals, everyone seems looser, despite the pressure to perfect our jobs. That sort of looseness always leads to a better theatre experience.

We ran some music tonight too. Not with the exact timing of the show of course, but we got the notion of the mood that will be set in the theatre for the show.

It's happening. It really is. We just need to build the energy between rehearsals, and hold onto it for the next one.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Comments on The Lion in Winter..Ty Responds...

My deep thanks to both Muzak Box and "Anonymous" for their recent comments here on the blog.

"Anonymous" tells me that he wants played Richard in a production of the play, and marks it as one of his favorite roles of his career thus far. It is certainly an appealing role, and probably would be my second choice behind Geoffrey. So my thanks to him and his sentiments.

As for Muzak Box, she made a point that I had not considered about our play's haphazard tech week. She mentions that having to have tech rehearsal somewhere other than the performance arena can at a certain excitement and spontaneity to opening night which might not otherwise be there. That the very act of opening a show for the first time on a stage you have not practiced on in several days or more makes it seem more alive, somehow. Less, well, rehearsed.

Though in general, I prefer all aspects of a show to be ironed out, I think she may have a point about the blocking and use of the stage. If we keep the basic riles in mind, we should be find. And the inevitable electricity that is palpable in the air of a theatre on open night is bound to be intensified given that the set qwill not be there when we arrive, will have to be put up, and that we all will not be in the accustomed groove of knowing exactly where and how our movements will take place.

I am still somewhat nervous about it, but thanks to Muzak Box, I may have something positive to counteract the negative.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Turning the Corner for The Lion in Winter

My apologies for not writing about last night's rehearsal until today. But yesterday was one of the longest days I have had in a while, and when I got home, I just rested.

It was, however, quite the satisfying evening at the chapel of rehearsal.

For a while, only myself, "Eleanor" and "Alais" were present, along with the director. Those three characters do not have a scene that is just them, so we ran the scene where Geoff confronts Eleanor about her "indifference." We ran it more than once actually. I was happy to do this for two reasons. One, it is one of my favorite scenes to play, short as it is. Secondly, I like going over pieces several times in a row. For many actors, this can get tedious, and in fact past a certain point, I am one of those people as well. But the chance to work through, to truly iron out an exchange, or a scene, is something I welcome. We have not had many chances to rehearse this show, truly, (only twice a week, which is not alot for a show of this magnitude), so I am quite happy to take advantage of whatever opportunities show up for some extra work on some of my moments.

Previously, Geoff had entered this scene, as Eleanor, in defeat, lamented, and perused her jewelry box of treasures. Geoff came in, presumably to deliver some news about some actions he had taken, and suddenly approached her and knelt beside her, distracted for a moment by her grandeur. It was, as played, Geoff's most vulnerable and human moment in the play.

Last night, the since of vulnerability and wonder was kept, but approached differently. Now, as I come in, I will and kneel, I too will be routing through the jewels with Eleanor. This makes the scene somewhat less somber while still conveying the same rare since of a Geoffrey that is not plotting. It does not last long of course, as he is still Geoffrey, but it made the scene feel more organic to me. It is a change I am pleased with.

"Eleanor", the actress, gives so much to me in the scene, too. All of this conspires to make the scene, already one of my three favorite, even more satisfying.

As more actors showed up, we worked on the scene in King Philip's bedroom. This scene I dislike. Not because I dislike the actor playing Philip. Not because the lines are especially difficult in this scene. Truth be told, I don't know the precise reason I dislike playing that scene. It is probably a combination of things. One of them being that Geoffrey's motivations in the scene are the least clear of all the scenes. As with most plays, there are multiple ways of looking at it, but anyone I choose confounds me a bit.

Not to mention, it requires myself and "John" to be behind a curtain for what feels like an hour and a half when one is not doing anything but standing and waiting in a tiny space. (And we have not even run that scene in the actual performance hall yet...)

So, all and all, even great shows have their weaker moments, and that scene is one of them for me, personally. Ironically, this is the scene that leads into intermission. But no matter, it will come together somehow.

Despite missing "John", we ended the evening, (which ran longer than usual), by running the final scene in the wine cellar. I do no want to give too much away, but at some point, the Princes are planning an escape involving knives. Before last night, I had delivered my lines while only looking or gesturing towards the knives in question. Last night, I was permitted to pick one up when they first arrive.

What a difference a prop can make! The lines in that scene while i have the knife have never felt more visceral or potent. Holding it, pointing with it, simply standing there with it gave the scene an edginess I enjoyed playing. I have no doubt I could have given the scene what it needed anyway, I will not deny, nor feel shame for, the instant improvement to my energy which carrying the prop brought forth.

All and all, despite some trouble spots, the energy and depth of feeling in the scenes last night was a marked improvement from previous practices. Hence the title of this entry...several times when rehearsing my scenes, and watching some of the others, I got that familiar feeling that the "click" was imminent. It did not arrive last night, but I can hear it in the distance. Energy, power, attitudes of the performers, all were starting to coalesce. We are, without a doubt, gaining on it.

I stumbled briefly once or twice with lines in this scene. They came to me quickly, though. Frequent reviewing between now and the next rehearsal on Sunday should take care of that.

So would, I imagine, the impromptu line rehearsal that was scheduled for tonight. Unfortunately, I already had other plans for later this evening, and will not be able to attend that session. However, I gave my word to the director I would continue to run my lines myself.

Also, some future tech people showed up at rehearsal last night. At least, I believe that is what they were there for. One is "Eleanor's" real life son. The other is a techie I have worked with once before, about a year ago. So, even the technical aspects are taking shape.

Speaking of that, one final note today about tech "week". It will be quite a problematic one. We will only have two actual tech rehearsal nights in the performance venue. And those will take place several days before opening. This means that we will have to have extra long rehearsals each of those nights. I do not mind the extra rehearsals, but I am a tad worried about the length of time between them, and opening. I have never gone that far between a full tech and an opening before.

Plus, we will be rehearsing both at the director's home, and at the chapel, in the days leading up to opening. I am not sure what the sensation of rehearsing the night before opening in a different venue than we will be performing in will be like. A bit disorienting, I would imagine. But it cannot be helped, and at least we have the theatre to perform in. So it is not all bad. It will, however, be another significant obstacle to overcome.

Two weeks from tomorrow, we open. If you are nearby, make your reservations now.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Ring Thing

I recently got back from the store. I bought two dummy rings for my character. One of them, I broke down, and it is now essentially just a band. I have colored it black because I could.

The other is made to look like silver, and had a very prominent fake gem in it. Large. I colored this jet black as well, to give it an oynx look. I am not sure which I should try out. On the one hand, (literally), I think a King's son, as well as the Duke of Brittany would have a very prominent, impressive ring. But it is a bit bulky, though nothing I cannot handle.

On the other hand, this Prince is Geoffrey, and I can see him being less concerned with bulk and such. The smaller, simpler, (yet black) metal band actually resembles the sort of character I think Geoff can be. Plus it is lighter on the hand. (not by much, but it is.) I think it would be easier to play with, and that was, in theory, the purpose of having a ring.

I think tonight I will try both. Maybe see if the director has a preference. I want to have a decision tonight, though. I want to have what i am going to use in place as early as possible.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Some House Keeping, and Top of the Morning

First, allow me to thank "Anonymous" for having what has to be the highest "entry to comment" time ration in the history of Always Off Book. They were so kind as to make a comment the other night about my entry regarding Classic Arts Showcase...which I posted in October of 2005. They admitted to being a little behind the times, however. No matter, I welcome the comment, and hope that if they read this entry in less than two years time, they will continue to comment and contribute to the discussion.

Now for the top of the morning part...Rehearsal was not quite that early, of course, but, it was our typical Saturday morning rehearsal time.

Not quite so typical though, as for a while we were locked out of the practice area. Turns out the door had just frozen shut, but for a while, it appeared for all the world that we had been locked out.

Obviously, we got in eventually.

Today we were to be off book. I would say for most of it I was. One scene, that I was securely off book for gave me more trouble than I expected it to. But I think that was because we had never run it in this room before. And also because each actor struggled a bit with lines today. Still, overall, I felt practically off book the whole time. I have no doubt that there will be noticeable improvement in everyone's line retention by the time we meet again on Thursday.

I have been given permission to wear a ring during the play. I wanted to do this anyway, to give Geoff some sort of extra habit..something to play with as he thinks. I want it to by simple, if I can find a good, but fake simple ring. That will be one of my tasks is the coming week, so I can hopefully have one by Thursday.

The ring is of particular importance now, since I will not wearing a knife for the show. This does not bother me greatly, though I do wonder how the line "we all have knives" will go down, when half of us do not. But, there are far more significant things to concern myself with, especially since that is not even my line.

For example the candlestick attack is being redone, though it was not done today. We spoke about it briefly, and it now appears it will be a little more subtle and a little less violent. I have to say I am somewhat relieved. Not that I could not have handled the stunt eventually, but, I did feel a bit nervous at times, I confess. So I imagine we will be reworking that on Thursday.

Now that I am off book, (or will be totally be Thursday, what I was not off book for today), It is time to examine Geoff's motivations and back story in earnest. At least the part of it I can control, and create myself. I do not mean I am going to write a bio on him or anything like that, (though I have used that method before with smaller roles.) However, thinking of a few incidents from his past which might have contributed to the way he is during the play may be of benefit.

And while I am not without any notion of his motivations overall, I am now going to concentrate on them, in more detail, and on a scene by scene basis. Sharpening the nuances of the character, fleshing out my version of his personality, and, as I mentioned, coming up with some quasi-quirks. In other words, some of the most fun stuff. In initially science outranks art in any production. This show has reached the demarcation line past which the art should outrank the science of the performance. I tend to thrive most after such points.

Four weeks. Exactly four weeks from this moment I will be performing as Geoffrey. (Or roughly, as I may not be on stage at this exact moment for weeks from now.) Nonetheless, to quote a line from the play, "The sand goes pit pat on the glass"...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Candlestick Stunts

This evening was our Thursday night rehearsal. It was calling for bad weather, which luckily did not show up during rehearsal. We have already lost one rehearsal due to snow. I hope there will be no more.

Today was my first chance to run a scene without the script. I would say I am 85-90% off book at this point. I have one more day to learn one more scene...should not be too overwhelming. (It cannot be so...Saturday is the due date to be off book, though we can call for lines.)

Of course, one scene we ran was the one scene I am not yet off book for. But no matter. The rewarding feeling of being free of script for 2 out of the three scenes more than made up for it.

The first scene was the one I have mentioned before...when Geoffrey confront his mother about why there was never any warmth from her, or his father, king Henry. As I have been playing it, this is the only real time Geoffrey shows alot of vulnerability. At least, what Geoff would consider vulnerable. I love to play the scene, and today it was especially satisfying. You do not have to be a veteran of reading this blog to know that I am now entering my absolute favorite part of the rehearsal process...being without scripts. Being able to work on nuance and subtlety. That is the meat and potatoes of the theatre, and though we only just began to be without our scripts today, I can already feel the dynamic between the characters evolving.

The second scene we worked on was one in King Philip's room. Much plotting and planning is going on. Geoff quite literally is in the middle of selling everyone to everybody. Theonly real person that stands to actually benefit from Geoff's plotting is in fact Philip, and the play does not allow us to know if even Philip ever would. But Philip thinks he will, and hence, allies himsefl with Geoff.

During said scene, in which Geoff leaves John swinging, (as per his plan) John rushes on and attacks him with the only weapon he can find...a candlestick. This was the candlestick stunt we worked on today, hence the title of this entry.

I have done stunts before in shows, but mostly comic ones. not that those can be taken lightly by an actor, but it has been a good long while since I had to do anything resembling combat. Years, in fact. And while John's attack is half-assed and very easily thwarted, there are still details that must be worked out and rehearsed in order to convince the audience that it has been thwarted. (And to keep me safe..."John" will be wielding a real brass candlestick!)

The plan is for him to come at me, and start to bring the candlestick down on top of me, whereby I grab his wrist, punch him in the stomach, and toss him onto a bed. (Belief it or not, that really is as combative as I have been on stage in a while.) We ran it a few times, and it needs work. Mostly from my own end.

For starters, we have to position ourselves so as to mask how fake the punch actually is. No easy task given our angles and such in respect to the audience.

Secondly, the set up requires me to block the attack with my left hand. If this were happening for real, my overwhelming reflex is to block something with my right. (That hand being my dominate hand, in that particular type of action.)

So, that goes on.

I also want to see if I can wear a ring of some sort. I have not asked the director yet, but I will. I think he would have something on. Plus it gives Geoff an idiosyncrasy...playing with a ring while thinking. I like to give all of my characters such things, and that seems a simple and appropriate way to do so in this case.

The final scene for the play was the last thing we rehearsed tonight in full. We have not run this one much, and it was quite different tonight than previously. The plan is now to have Henry toss me a knife, (he offers one in the script, but it is unclear if Geoff actually takes it.) In our production, I will in fact take it, and sort of block the door, to prevent a possible exit. I never actually use the knife, as Eleanor is able to disarm me before the end of the scene. (How and why she does this is something all of us are still working on.) But I do get to use the knife. I do not know if I will be wearing one, but, I will be using one by the end.

And so it goes. Day after tomorrow, we are all to be off book.