Sunday, February 28, 2016

50% Down, 50% To Go

This production has no matinee, so I didn't perform today. Last night was the end of the first weekend.

There were some technical issues. Sound effects not working, set changes going poorly in the dark. But overall a more energetic performance all the way around than opening night was. This is particularly true for the first play, Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread. I am not in that one, and don't get to see much of it, as I am waiting backstage to go on for the next play, but it sounded good, and I am told by the cast it went well. Good for them.

Sadly, the crowd was just as tiny as it was for opening night.

I was less on edge last night than I was for opening night. Some of that is typical opening night nerves, but in this case it's because I remembered to give myself more alone time once I got to the theatre.

I got there early and literally just laid on a couch in the greenroom for about 20 minutes as people started to trickle in. I'd allowed myself to forget how important it can be for me to just become present, and be in the moment before a show. I did too much running around on opening night, taking care of too many things, getting distracted by other people. I very much enjoy being around my cast mates before a show, but I have to balance that with keeping to myself for a while. I wasn't able to do that easily on opening night, so I put in an extra effort to "force" my way into some alone time, though that's too strong a verb, probably.

I listened to music, walked around the stage a bit, sat down there and had a Red Bull. Not going over lines, but just taking in the evening. I retired to the dressing room later, (I like to be among the last to get into costume when possible) and just sat there a while, feeling all "actorish." It's still a tiring experience in ways unique to this production, but I felt more prepared for it last night.

Being present with one's self is, I think, vital to an optimum performance. Not everyone is an introvert like me, even in the theatre, so your mileage may vary, but even the gregarious and excitable would be well advised to take some time alone in the hour or so before a curtain. Meditate, eat, do back-flips, whatever suits you, but do it alone at least for a while. Theatre is a communal thing, a cast is a team, but one must be centered within one's self to be at one's best on stage. That means a conscious choice to avoid distractions for at least a few minutes.

Now the odd limbo of time between weekends. As much as I usually enjoy the company of others in the show, I am happy to at last have a break from heading into the theatre and rehearsing/performing. A second weekend is, if your care about what you are doing, often a sort of tonic, where there is far less anxiety, and far more artistic abandon to make the show better. The few days break feeds into that, and usually I come into a second weekend feeling refreshed and ready to hit the ground running in a way that opening night doesn't provide.

There will be a pick-up rehearsal Tuesday evening, but aside from that, I'll probably keep the show and everything that goes with it at arm's length between now at Friday.

At least I will try for a while to do so. Knowing me, I won't totally succeed.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Opening Night of One-Ders

Last night we opened the show for a small crowd of about ten people.

There were some issues with a few technical aspects, which isn't shocking, as we didn't get to rehearse those things very much this week. But from an acting standpoint, it went well.

There is room for improvement, no doubt. But as hectic as this tech week was, and given how bad schedules were at the start of the process (where a lot of rehearsals were missed) the show was quite solid.

It is an exhausting show for me in ways that most other shows are not. On the whole, the three plays did run about one hour last night, so that seems to be where we are with pacing. But during that hour I have almost no breaks. I am "on" almost the entire time. Because we have no tech crew, I have to be ready backstage almost from the very beginning to help with a set change in the dark. Then I perform the second show, immediately perform a second set change in the dark, and proceed to act in the final show, in which I am arguably the main character.

In all of that I am off stage after my first line in the first play for maybe two minutes. If you ad the brief Q&A with the audience that we had last night after we were done, that's even more time on stage. (Even though not in character. And I was asked no questions.)

In a lot of ways this was a "get it over with" opening night. By that I mean that though we performed well, it was just as much if not more about "proving" we were ready for an audience. We did, and in some ways tonight, with a bit of that pressure removed, will feel like a true opening night for me.

I'm sure it will be tighter. If it isn't, but is no worse than opening night, we still have nothing to lament about.

That's about all to report about opening night. But now that I think about it, a mundane, run of the mill report about opening night for this show indicates that everything went smoothly, so I'll take it. Tonight may be a larger crowd, with more energy. (The cast energy was low as well, last night.) I'm ready for that.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Actual Final Rehearsal

There were no visitors to our rehearsal last night, so it wasn't a "preview" per se. But we did run it in "real time" with no stops, corrections or questions.

I think it went pretty good. I won't say it was stellar, but it wasn't horrible either. Naturally you always want to do better each time you perform, but truth be told if we do know worse in front of an audience than we did in our final rehearsal, we'll be in solid shape.

The biggest surprise was the time; It took us just over an hour to complete all three shows. It had been taking us that long to complete just the single longest show out of the three. I'm not sure what made the performance time so much faster. We must not have been rushing, as the director didn't tell us so afterward. I guess it all just fit together that way. If we can keep that pace in front of audiences, that will be a plus.

I did well last night, no major mistakes. None from anyone else either, from what I could tell. I think I had to cover for some minor issue late in one of the plays, as it seemed like a line was dropped. I knew my line was in the near future, so I just went with it, and I don't think the scene was any worse for the wear. It happens.

The short time between final dress and opening night can be an interesting experience. There is no more rehearsing, so in one sense pressure is off. Of course the next time you run the show, it's the real thing, for which you have been rehearsing all this time, and in that sense more pressure is on. It's a relief and an excitement at the same time when you're in this short limbo. It's even odder because most of the day leading into opening night, you're off doing your regular Friday thing, and don't have much time to think about it. (Working from home, I have a lot more than most people, though.)

Not that I'm obsessing over tonight. I want us to get it right. I want people to come see it, and I have been going over a few things mentally here and there, as I will certainly do at the theatre tonight. But truly, it does no good to overthink things at this point. In fact, in most plays, I'm already on automatic by about halfway through tech week if not earlier. This is one of the few times where opening night has arrived and I don't feel automatic. Prepared, yes, but not in the same way as usual. It will be fine, but different.

A show can improve from one official performance to the next. I get the feeling this will be one of those shows. Yet to a large degree, the show is what it is as of last night. That is another dichotomy- it's scary and comforting at the same time.

Eight hours and counting until we open.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"Final" Rehearsal

In a way, that is. Though we do rehearse tonight, last night was, according to our director, the final time we will be stopping to fix or explain anything. Tonight a colleague or two of some of the cast members will be watching, and thus we will be putting on the show at the pace of opening night.

In theory, anyway.

Some brand new technical elements and responsibilities were added last night, and I would have preferred more time to rehearse those. But I can't worry too much about them. They are what they are. My main focus and concentration remains on my performance. I'd rather screw up placing a chair than screw up in my acting.

On that topic, I did better last night than I did the previous two nights. I didn't repeat the mistake I'd made recently. By no means do I suggest that I am now invincible, but getting past a mistake and doing it right the following day goes a long way in establishing both rhythm and confidence in the moment. I will continue to be extra careful with that section, reviewing it in my head and such, but I have done it correctly more recent than having screwed it up, and that is a net gain.

Wore my costume last night, and will tonight. Seems like all of that worked out fine. Mostly it's just a suit, with a hood added in one of the plays. A hot, wool hood. Taking that off between plays is my only "costume change" as it were, so that is a relief.

Got into the green room and dressing rooms for the first time last night. I'd seen them before, but had never used them. The last time I was in a show with others in this venue, the layout of the building was different, so the green room and dressing rooms were in a different place. Always good to get into the dressing rooms, I think. That's when it starts to feel "real" as it were.

Not the most exciting update this time. Everyone is tired, some nerves are on edge. A good opening night performance tends to negate such feelings, but we have a day and a half before all of that. We must get through tonight first. (Where I will be working with a sound effect for the very first time, which I hope goes better than I am fearing it will.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Line Drop, Mike Drop

I screwed up in a scene last night. Dropped a line and through off the tempo. I messed up this same line once before, and others have messed up in section near that moment before. I don't know what it is about that moment.

Well, I have some ideas.

In the end, 99% of the responsibility falls on the actors, and I accept that. But if a man who works hard at what he does, (yours truly) may be permitted on his own block to speak in his own defense as to the other 1%, I have a few words.

To begin with, the play in which this mistake happened is without a doubt the poorest of the three plays we are doing. Though the plot is seriously lacking, the language is the biggest issues here. Its turgid, archaic, stilted, repetitive, uninspired and often consists of poor diction. References are often unclear and any attempted poetry by Dunsany fails more often than not. Unlike say, Shakespeare, the script shows its age, despite being younger than that of the Bard by three centuries.

Because of these factors, I find it more difficult to patch a hole that may show up, due to either my own error, or that or someone else. The dialogue is unnatural without being elevated. It's just bad, and I've not melted into it as I do with most other scripts. I am in fact off book, and have been, but for certain sections it requires walking a razor's edge. Very little wiggle room. That, more than not having it memorized, has thrown me off here and there in that section.

I speak for nobody else in the cast, of course. But I am not the only one who has had difficulty, and I would not be shocked in the language was a factor in the issues of others as well. I may ask them during these final few days.

In the mean time, I am running the main trouble section over and over, though like I said, I am off book when it comes to the rote memory of the exchange. I think what I'm going for is to know it so well that the ability to ad-lib or jump around if needed is there, though of course, it is better to not need it at all. Perhaps I will attempt to memorize every line in those pages, and not just my own. (Not my usual intention in a play.) There are only two rehearsals left though.

I don't want that section to be a spook either. I think that's another advantage to going over it a bit more.

Otherwise for me that play went fine. (Once we reprogrammed the lights; the board somehow crashed and erased all the cues from the previous night.)

So that is the "line drop" part of this entry. Now for the "mike drop" part.

(Actually, I hate both the term "mike drop" and the actual dropping of a microphone after a performance. But I wanted to be cute with the title, and I went with it.)

The performance of the second show I am in, the head director's own script, was the best its been. The director of the show, (not the same man who wrote it) was overjoyed. He had almost no corrections for us after we ran it. If last night absolutely had to have been performance night for just that show, I think we would have been fine, that's how well we did with it. (I still want the two more rehearsals though!)

The only problem is I have to fire a gun at some point, and we have not developed a sound effect that will work. I think we are working on that tonight.

I was 90% happy with my performance in that play last night, though. No "highway hypnosis." Good energy. Might even pull it back in a few places. But it was a nice counter to the mistake I made in the one scene of the other show.

From here on out, I have to let the mistake I made go. No dwelling, because that will make it a spook. I don't like that it happened, don't want it happening again, but I'm not going to let it become a drain into which the rest of my performance, in that show and the next, gets sucked. I'll work on it, try to calm down, and get it right.

It was probably inevitable that I make at least one or two mistakes in this tech week anyway. I despise making them, but it has been a sort of hectic tech process. In a way I have "had my turn" and hopefully can move past it tonight.

And maybe gain some extra nuance for the character and the scene from all of the extra studying of the section I am doing today. In fact, I think that's already happened to a certain degree.

Two more rehearsals. Tomorrow is costumes officially, but I may wear mine today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tight Rope

I've always been honest, though discreet here on the blog. Pursuant to that policy, I have to say I am feeling uneasy about rehearsal last night, and where we stand as a whole for opening weekend.

I'm not telling tales out of school, here. The director of the company shares this assessment, according to what he told us at the end of last night's rehearsal.

No doubt there has been much improvement this week over last week. But the clock ticks no matter how good you feel about yourself, and there is still a large amount of work to be done before Friday.

I myself stumbled once or twice, but I was not by any means the only one. Nobody has a target on their back when I say this; collectively we as a group are behind. As productive as the last few rehearsals have been, the final three will have to be twice as productive over again.

It can happen. Once or twice in my life is has happened. But the uncertainty is difficult on me.

By policy, the company doesn't have rehearsals over three hours long. I'd be willing to work longer than that for the final few days, if that policy were suspended, however.

It wasn't all bad. We did get the lights programmed last night. Took some extra time, but that's the nature of lights and tech week in general. There's no fast way to do that. There aren't too many lighting tricks in the scenes I appear in, but in at least one the lighting will add a whole different ambiance that we can all certainly use in our performances.

I am also thinking about wearing my costume early, if I am permitted. As it stands we only have one scheduled rehearsal in costume. I'm used to more than one. Besides, being in costume, (even though it;s just stuff I personally bought at Goodwill) helps one feel more immersed in the show. If it's against company policy, then of course I won't.

So, there is concern. Not surrender, but concern.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Yesterday's rehearsal, other than being short one person, was very much like the previous night's. Though that makes for a less than compelling update, it's good news, I suppose. It means that the production is hitting a quasi-stride in some areas.

In fact, certain parts have improved each of the last three evenings. We must all get our remaining lines down. That's the biggest thing.

I can report that I wasn't as caught up in the "highway hypnosis" that I mentioned yesterday. Some rough-ish parts in small places, but I did feel more present yesterday than I did the night before.

Before rehearsal, I got familiar with a prop gun that I carry in one scene. I've been using it for rehearsals for about a week, but I never had the chance to just hold it in my hand, and get used to it. I have no experience with real guns, so I have nothing to go on to inform any micro-decisions I might make on stage, or just to increase my comfort level. It's fake, so there is no true danger, but I nonetheless think it's more convincing if I connect with the prop a bit more-like tempering eggs before dumping them into a hot mixture.

A hand prop can be an extension of the actor, or at least the character. Even if the prop is a simple one, allowing it time to come into your sphere as an actor, and become part of what you are doing instead of just grabbing it right before curtain and going allows nuance to develop. Nuance, properly cultivated, blends into the overall picture you are presenting. Though the audience may not know exactly what the deal is, they will likely notice a smoother, more realistic presentation. So I try to be familiar with hand props when I can.

Tonight is sure to be a true shift; we will have lights and sound for the first time. There isn't a whole lot going on with lights, but there are several prominent sound effects, one of which I must perfectly time my actions. I am preparing myself for spending some time getting that right.

A last minute decision to take pictures for the paper left me without my costume. (It was at home, getting washed.) So I don't appear in any of them, except a broad group shot. We probably could have come up with something, but I didn't press it.

There is still a lot of work to do, and I won't pretend to know for certain if all of it will get done by opening night or not. I will say we are closer than we were a week ago, but a noticeable margin.

Rehearsal this evening at 7:00PM.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Highway Hypnosis II

The last two rehearsals have had plenty of rough spots and hard edges. To be perfectly objective about it, probably more than rehearsals in the final week should have. That being said, the production has without a doubt improved over the last two days.

Everyone has been at rehearsal, and there is an increased feeling of urgency overall. I wouldn't call it fear or panic, but everyone is aware, shall we say, that it's time. That is my take away from it, at least.

These haven't been tech week rehearsals in the true sense, though. The light/sound technician won't be around until tomorrow. So despite it being tech week, the last two rehearsals have been standard, though we are now running all three shows each night now, and stopping for corrections far less often.

In the shorter of my two plays, the one written by the director of the company, I've reached a place in the last two days that can be good or bad depending on one's perspective. A few times my lines came to me in a less conscious way. Reflexively, once the cue line appeared. This sounds like the ideal to nearly everyone outside of theatre, and to many people inside of it as well. After all, if I'm able to spit the lines out with less thought and concentration, that means I've fully absorbed the material, doesn't it?

Only in a way. But for me, this isn't necessarily the best type of absorption for my manner of performance. I prefer a few more seeds of "Ty consciousness" if you will.

Have you ever been driving down the highway, and suddenly realized you don't really remember driving for the last 15 minutes? You've just been going along existing, and oh,by the way, your driving 65 miles an hour in a machine? It's both unnerving and somewhat amazing at the same time. After all, you were in some way only semi-conscious of what you were doing (the scary part) yet you never ran off the road, and you are still going where you are supposed to go (amazing part.) "Highway hypnosis" some call it.

There can be a similar, (though obviously not as dangerous) phenomenon for the actor, when everything becomes automatic.

"I am Othello! But Olivier is in control," wrote Lawrence Olivier in his great book, On Acting. That's how I prefer to be as well. I want there to always be a kernel of Ty present in  my conscious mind while I perform, so I can course correct if needed. I don't mean I was out of control last night while on stage, I wasn't. My performance was, if I may say so myself, tight, solid. Yet there may have been some "highway hypnosis" going on.

This can happen in any show, but speaking for me at least, it is more likely to happen when I play a high-energy, somewhat askew character as I do in this short play. Even then, it only happened in a few different moments, not the whole show.

Now that I'm aware that I have approached that plain I can use it without succumbing to it. I've gotten a feel for the plane, I can pilot it better now.

Beyond that, I still had to call for a line in one or two places. I know all the lines, but certain sections seem to get weird here and there. I will work on that, of course.

I leave in just over an hour for the next rehearsal, though two people will be missing from this one. No matter, though.

Monday, February 15, 2016

On the Suburbs of Trouble

I should be at rehearsal now instead of writing this. Not just any rehearsal, but the final rehearsal before tech week. A rehearsal we all in the show very much needed.

I'm not there, and in fact nobody is there, because it was cancelled because of weather.


Between schedule clashes and weather problems, my rough guess is that this production has missed anywhere between one third and one half of the rehearsals it was intended to have. We've not yet run all three shows in one night as they will be run for actual performances. In fact, only last night did we run the longest of the three shows all the way through in one night for the first time.

We've not worked the same sections with the same actors two nights in a row the entire time.

And Friday begins tech week.

I've been in tighter spots before in the theatre, but not too many.

I'm declaring myself de facto "off book," while readily admitting that it is a whole different beast to remember all lines and cues when everyone is present for the first time. I wasn't perfect last night, but I was at a place I'm almost comfortable with. It's pretty close to the best I can be on my own, not taking the rest of the cast's presence into account. I will of course continue to work on lines in my own time, though normally by tech week I don't feel much of a need for that.

Also smashed my head into an actresses head while rehearsing a struggle last night. It hurt on the moment, but I'm good now, as far as I can tell. I'll probably ask for a few more extra runs of that little scene; I think I have it, but I feel a tad shaky on it still.

I think I'm done with being in winter shows in this area. What was to be my best night for The King is But a Man last year was cancelled because of weather. The weather has taken a large toll on this show, and I have been other shows that missed rehearsals in February. If it's a wonderful opportunity, I'd probably still do it. Hamlet or something. But by and large there is just too much risk of missing rehearsals and performances around here in January and February. I still do Christmas shows, but that's probably it.

The head of the company agreed. He said he won't put on any more shows this time of year. And that was before we missed today. (The heat in the facility has not been reliable, just like last year for my show. That place gets cold.)

In a message to all of us earlier this evening, the director promised the most "harried" tech week in the history of theatre. Though it will be a battle, I doubt it will be my worst, as I have been in some bad tech weeks for some highly complicated technical shows. Still, I have no doubt there will be long evenings ahead. Not my favorite thing about non-Union theater (where nothing can mandate breaks), but it's part of the beast in such circumstances.

One of the other company directors, (each of the three shows has its own) also emailed everybody, encouraging us all to hit the ground running on Friday. He believes there is a great deal of talent in this cast, and I agree with him. I also agree with his notion that it will take all kinds of work to put on the best possible show. But if we do all of what we are capable, it could be quite an evening of theatre.

No, I am still not panicked. Truth be told, I'm not sure things like this could make me panic anymore. Am I concerned, and uncertain as to whether we will be totally ready to open on time? Yes, of course I am. I think anybody in this situation would be. But unlike in previous years in theatre, I don't tend to view any one production as the be all and end all. At least I don't feel that way as often as I used to. I have no desire to screw up in front of an auditions. I want no parts of being in a poor production. Nor do I particularly want to have to cancel something to which I have already dedicated so much time and energy.

Yet the theatre is a human thing, through and through. Humans piss each other off, make mistakes, have competing values, divided loyalties, have muddled and confusing motivations for their behavior. I'm not happy that this can be the case, and the harder you work, the less likely these things are to derail something.  But when it happens it happens, and while I may be pissed off about something on the day, especially when it requires little effort to rectify or prevent, in the end there will be other shows. They don't all end up in a mess. I will act again, if I have anything to do with it.

Nor is this show a mess yet. We have that one week to pull things together. I imagine the head director won't let us go on if we look absurd and unprepared. He almost made the decision once already, after all. So, as always, the most I can do is know my lines, my blocking, dive into my imagination for some interesting choices, and try not to  get in anybody else's way as the proceed to get ready for the show.

And sometimes you learn more from the chaos than from anything else. Not a classroom I wish to be in every time, but if I find myself in it, might as well pay attention.

Friday, February 12, 2016

"Side" Job

Last night a few of us met in the lobby of the theater, (the stage was being used for auditions) to review lines, and go over any trouble spots. There weren't many of us there, so what we could accomplish was limited.

But we did get something done. Those few of us who did share some dialogue decided to go over those sections a few times as a line review. We also had some short discussions about how to play the scenes going forward.

I'd have preferred a full-on extra rehearsal at this point, but a lot of community theater is working hard at what you have. Last night we had a chance to review only a few pages, and that's what we did.

It is in some way the essence of amateur/community/volunteer theatre. In most places there are hindrances, delays, setbacks. They can be frustrating, and at times they can cause the cancellation of a show. (To which we came close last week.) But there is appeal in the pastiche of schedules and efforts and ideas and available space that comes with such productions.

People stealing a few minutes to rehearse a difficult scene, or a huddled conversation back stage during dress rehearsals, resulting in a rough spot finally being ironed out after so many awkward attempts throughout the process. Meeting in homes, coffee shops, restaurants to get to know not only the show, but one another better.

It may or may not make for the most even show possible. But it indicates effort. It indicates that people care. When people care, good things happen in the arts. Sometimes the best of things happen.

Just about any other art is sloppy. Messes are made, and they can't always be cleaned up right away. But we work that corner of the canvas all morning, or tinker with that prologue during our lunch break at work. Certainly most people, myself included, would prefer neat, organized, predictable and consistent sessions to work on a play, (or anything else.) But absent of that, zero effort brings zero results, and I would much rather chip away at the boulder here and there until it cracks, than just look at how big the boulder is all day and wish it were not there.

Regular rehearsal tonight. It promises to be a longer than usual one to make up for some of what I talked about above. But I've always been all for long rehearsals, if something gets accomplished during the long period. I believe it will tonight.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

180 Degrees

Last night's rehearsal had 100% attendance. We didn't rehearse everything in the production, but what we did rehearse went well, nearly everyone off book by now, and finally getting a small feel for interacting with one another.

It felt refreshing to me to be able to do this.

The leader of the company was fairly close to calling the production off. Now that we've sort of j ump started the process, everything seems to be a go. Hopefully it will remain that way.

We do still have a great deal of work, and little time to do it in. We're aren't close to performance ready. But like Churchill said early in World War II, "This isn't the end. It's not even the beginning of the end. But perhaps it is the end of the beginning."

Being off book is of course crucial to success in a show, especially this late in the process. (Even if the show is not somewhat behind schedule.) But getting a feel for one another is of near equal importance, and for a good portion of last night, that's what it was about. Some scenes were rehearsed without scripts, and a full cast for the very first time.

Thankfully, I don't dislike any of the people in these shows. It's always much more fun that way. But there is also the element of getting a feel for everyone else's performance style and pace and such during a play, whether or not you like them as a person. You can memorize every letter of a script, but until you start exchanging lines with the people playing the other roles, your work in incomplete. You can eventually recite your lines to the empty space of an absent actor, waiting for your cue from the stage manager who is reading the lines, but it's like dumping seeds onto a parking lot; something might take, but nothing will thrive.

The same is true, believe it or not, even when the actor has no lines in a given scene. Their presence has an impact on your performance that is difficult to fake when they aren't there. When my character is aware your character is present, it informs certain aspects of what I'm doing. One may hear that and think that a silent actor is no different than a silent empty chair. But they are world different.

For example in the shorter of the plays I am in, I play a man who has an assistant. My character does speak to the assistant directly a few times, but most of the time the assistant is quiet. Yet, the way I'm playing the scene now, (which is a board meeting), I'm almost always at least partially directing things toward the assistant, even though I'm actually addressing someone else, or the ether. I want the presence of that character to be a part of what my character is doing, who my character is in the scene. I want to use what the actress playing the assistant has to offer in her frequent silence.

This is of course true for any character on a stage who may not be saying anything. But given the particulars of this script, and the way I am seeing the character, the assistant is arguable the most significant presence for many moments.

I don't want to speak on behalf of the actress of course, but if I had to guess I would say she too is getting things to use from not only me, but others in the room, even during their silences, and so on all through the cast.

It is these things that take some time to develop. It is these things that begin to take form when everyone is present at rehearsal. I suppose that in an absolute emergency, such things can be partially replicated in the absence of scene partners, but one would never get as much or as deep a performance for the audience, nor as satisfying an experience for the actor. At least if the actor is me.

The next official rehearsal is Friday, but several people are going to try to meet on Thursday to go over trouble spots, and discuss issues, and I want to be there for that.

So yes, an almost complete turn around in town and productivity from the previous rehearsal night. Here's hoping it stays that way.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Crap Out

I have to unfortunately report that about half of the cast was unable to make it to last night's rehearsal. Because of this, we once again could not rehearse in any productive way.

The director of the company was, understandably, unhappy about this.

I, frankly, am becoming a bit disappointed myself. I'm still not in a panic, and I actually have less invested in the overall picture than do the leaders of the company itself. Still, I have to admit I'm starting to wonder when we will actually be rehearsing on a regular solid basis.

And when we do, will it be enough? The short answer is, it will have to be, because our director said he wouldn't allow the show to go on stage if it isn't good enough. He asked the rest of us present what we thought of that position. With regret, we all agreed; we can't put on a show that is unprepared.

That being said, the show is not cancelled as of now. The ticking of the clock is certainly becoming louder with each week that passes, but hope isn't lost. It will require more people prioritizing the show over most other things from now on, I will say, but there is time for that to happen.

We did have a bit of a discussion about acting and directing in lieu of a rehearsal.  Those of us with questions or concerns about specific aspects of the production got to bring them up. Though not a rehearsal, I think that was still a productive use of time. The show will ultimately be better for it.

I wish I had more positive, interesting things to report. But despite the best of intentions, this is how community theatre often unfolds. It seems to be more frequent with this show than most, but I can say from experience that the unwavering dedication to bring about the best show possible can sometimes be quite difficult to extract from actors and crew who volunteer.

A lot of wonderful, challenging work gets done on this level anyway, and perhaps that is the true essence and power of community theatre; thing get done anyway. The trade off is that they don't always get done anyway. They can't be forced when people have other things they are doing for much of the rehearsal process. I'm not saying I like or agree with this tendency, I don't. But if that is the tendency, all one can do is commit to a project and hope for the best.

Next rehearsal is tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, February 01, 2016


That's about how far off book I was in actual rehearsal of the play on Friday night.

I had more of the lines in my head, but it's all a different ballgame once you are up on stage delivering them. It takes another week or so to get them to the point that you remember them under the pressure of a scene.

Plus, schedules haven't allowed my and my  main scene partner much time to run the scenes together, so that a bit of a factor as well.

I still need to study the lines, no doubt. Especially a few of the ornate ones from Laughter of the Gods. Yet it still felt good to have the script out of my hand for much of Friday's rehearsal. There is a long way to go for the whole production and a shortish amount of time remaining to get there. But even when I have to call for a line several times, a threshold always feel crossed once I perform without constantly referring to the script. The real artistic, creative work begins soon.

Sadly, that work couldn't take place for me yesterday afternoon. Too many people had to miss rehearsal, so neither or the two plays I am in could rehearse, and I was dismissed. Some good came out of it though...the whole cast for Philip Glass, the show I am not in, was present, so they got to work their show a bit extra yesterday. So though i didn't get anything done personally, the production as a whole moved forward.

That's the catch in being in an evening of one-act plays. (Which I've done several times now.) When it's an ensemble cast that appears in each, one or two people missing can derail the whole evening. So there may be less work in some areas, but it can take longer, and require more patience than a standard show in others.

In a full length show, you can generally run different scenes when people are missing. For one act plays, there is a rather gaping hole to fill in their absence. You can do it, but it requires a whole different mind sent. Plus it's less than ideal.

But that is how it goes for this production. Every production has something that drags progress a bit. I still at this point have no reason to believe it won't work out. As this blog has shown, I have been in plays that have had far less time, and were much less prepared than this one. There are some annoyances with the schedules of the actors, but I'm not even in "concerned" stage yet.

Rehearsal again tonight at 5:00PM. That is the more difficult day and time for me, as it just starts to throw off my daily rhythm. Friday is late enough for it not to matter, and usually Sunday afternoon's are flexible. Like a matinee performance. But 5:00PM is such an odd time for me.

But it's not 9:00AM, and I have been there before rehearsing and even once, performing. That, my friends, is almost not even theatre.