Tales of life and art. Theater, knitting, music, and pottery (and anything else I feel like writing about)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The calm before the Giant

Tonight is my last night off probably before things get crazy into high production mode (read:many intense late nights). This weekend will mark "double tech" which for those of you non-theatre folks is a day of necessary but often frustrating and tedious work. It's the day they set the light and sound cues for the show, and the actors go through what is known as cue-to-cue. In which, you jump from one cue to the next, sometimes, but not often skipping entire scenes of a show, often skipping entire entrances and exits... you really have to be paying close attention to know where you are.. and there is a lot of standing around waiting for adjustments of things and all that.. that all happens before dinner.. it is a LONG afternoon. Then after dinner (potluck) we do the first run of the show with lights and sound.. this is a LONG day for a normal show.. this show is SONDHEIM.. this show is LONG the director is estimating a runtime ( with intermission,) that is going to be close to 2:45.... After Double tech, we start adding props and costumes and makeup and then the show opens.. we still have MUCH work to do. Tomorrow we do the first full run off book..we'll see how that goes, it is always a struggle, what you know at home, sometimes disappears when you get it into stage context, and people tend to use their scripts as crutches, but you can't really start to act until they are out of your hands.. I've essentially known my lines for a couple of weeks, but because of blocking and stuff like that have been carrying my script around too. Tomorrow I'll probably have a cheat sheet for my entrances and exits. I don't leave too often, but we haven't run it enough for them to be in my head yet. This show is broken into 72 scenes, and then some of those have additional "french scenes" in them. (French scenes are shifts in characters interacting within a scene, to become mini-scenes within a scene it comes from moliere) so there is a lot to keep up with here, since I'm only not in 19 or so of them. I got through Act 1 without much trouble the other night, and that is the more difficult act for me, but that being said, my lines in act 2 tend to be "peppered" rather than conversations like they are in the first act, and so while fewer of them, sometimes this is harder since you REALLY have to pay attention..

For those of you who are familiar with the process this one has been even more intense.. we got our new director (who I think is fantastic, and had really jumped right in and taken the bull by the horns on this one) two weeks after the first read through. We were supposed to have been learning music during that time but the scores weren't in, and the vocal coach was sick, and so were many of the cast members, so not a lot got done in that time. This as I said before is Sondheim.. the legend.. the music is beautiful and very deceptive.. for anyone who's ever said Sondheim isn't easy.. I can now attest to that first hand. I love his music, I love this show.. but boy, it is not what it at first appears, and the lyrics are a bear to learn, but they are brilliantly written. I love his cleverness, always have. Everyone has been working tremendously hard (hence no knitting or pottery, although I do have a post about a ring workshop I need to write with photos) and except for a few minor things, we seem to have been making great progress at each rehearsal..but this is community theatre, and people have jobs, and school and families, and other circumstances out of our control...so it has been difficult to have everyone there all at once to work. (hopefully that will change this weekend, it HAS to) And this one is one that is really an ensemble work. I love ensemble shows, the casts always seem to become a big family from the shared experience, that doesn't quite get to the same level in a show that isn't as ensemble based (but it still happens on some level).. this one is no exception.. everyone is working really well together to get through this, and when we get through it, and we will, there will be even more bonding going on, that for me, is part of what I really love about doing theatre, the people and the process, the energy it creates, the making something come alive and telling the story to the audience. Yes it is hard work, don't let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise, stage actors earn their pay. But it is a lovely way to work.


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