Friday, September 10, 2010


In one of the skits I am in for "A Thurber Carnival" (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), I play a man who daydreams a lot. These daydreams are played out on stage. As is often the case in our daydreams, Walter Mitty tends to fill in the blanks left by his lack of knowledge with something made up. So the daydream doesn't become a history lesson or something. In more than one of the daydreams in this skit, a character refers to a piece of machinery as beginning to "crevulate".

It's not a word. It doesn't mean anything in real life. But within the dream sequences it's a verb this guy's mind has created as a stand in for any non-specific mechanical failure for which his dream-self will offer the solution.

I think it's fair to say that parts of tonight's rehearsal were crevulating.

Actually the only section that I feel earned this title was, (I am sure readers will not be surprised by this) the dance scene. I found it even more exhausting and exasperating than I did last night. And one of the many, many reasons I felt such was that I kept missing a cue to enter, and being called out for it. Because we have no full music yet, (and because without much more practice I am not really good at counting 24 measures in my head while trying to perform), the choreographer had given me a visual cue off of which to time my entrance.

After about 5 tries, she finally told me that she had removed the cue I had been using from the dance, and I wouldn't be able to use it anymore. "I just hadn't told you yet," she confessed, much to my disappointment an irritation.

Add to that an insistence that she is going to add even more to this confusing dance ("It will be so easy, even people who can't dance will be able to slip it right in!"), as well as clear proof that none of us have even mastered the first several versions of this dance yet, and you can see why I have begun to lose patience with the entire scene. The entire five minute scene which altogether has accounted for about half of all our total rehearsal time.

So, I won't even bother to mention much about the scene, really. I feel the choreographer cares little for how the actors are struggling with the constantly changing piece. I would prefer we practice the same dance two nights in a row, but we have not done so, given the changes. And with two week left, I fear we will not be able to do so in time. I admit to being somewhat concerned about this section now. And from my view, the choreographer has not indicated that she is at all concerned about how the comfort level of the actors.

Therefore I will move on to the acting portions of tonight's practice.

I very much appreciated the director's desire to make use of our rehearsal time early on. Due to several reasons we once again had a few people missing at the start of the evening, but the entire cast for "Mr. Preble Get Tries to Get Rid of His Wife" was present, while the choreographer was not.(Yet.) So amidst much background noise and extra work being done on stage, we ran that piece. It was time spent well, but the ironic part of it all is that "Preble" is probably the single smoothest and most developed of my scenes right now. We probably didn't need the extra work, but it was satisfying to know that the director thought our time was important enough to run it while we waited.

Once, that, and the lumbering dance hour were completed, we ran through each skit of Act One, in order, for the very first time. Not at the speed in which we will hopefully run it come opening night, but it was the first chance we had to do everything in the act in one evening, despite note having a full cast.

Act One is also where I have the easier stuff to do out of all my skits. My bigger challenges are in Act Two.

At the end of the rehearsal the director reminded us of how little time there is left to rehearse, (only eight or nine separate rehearsals on tap, though she may have to add more, she cautioned.) She explained how much work we still needed to do to get to where we belonged. She declared scripts on stage to be officially forbidden henceforth, and encouraged everybody too look carefully over their lines this weekend. This was gratifying to me, because it showed that the director and the cast are on the same page. (Which is far from a guarantee in any given show.) We all know we have some major obstacles to climb in the next two weeks, even aside from the dance.But we all want to climb them. And if we all make the best use of our time, we can still do so.

Though to hammer the point home further, the director told us to consider every rehearsal "sacred" from now on, and to attend each of them unless there is absolutely know way around missing them. I like that term: sacred. I always try to treat my rehearsals as such. I'm not perfect and certain things can dull my motivation, but hearing that tonight convinced me that my efforts in the non-dancing parts of this show will not be wasted.

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