From Page To Stage: The birth of Artless Charlie – Part 9

3/13/03

This week, we finally got Kirsten, Andrew and Chris in for the first time since our read through.  We rehearsed in Calkins Hall and tried to hammer out the restaurant scene (2.1) and the fight scene (2.2).  It’s been a breath of fresh air working with a more seasoned actress like Kirsten after spending so much time on fundamentals with Evelyn. Kirsten seems to understand the character of Grace, forcing me to exercise some directorial restraint, which is not an easy task for me.  The chemistry between the rest of the cast is really developing nicely.  I am happy with how the characters’ relationships have grown on stage.  However, the script remains in need of adjustment.

Adam and I realized that the restaurant scene between Walter and Grace was just too long, so we will be trimming and dividing it into two separate scenes. The new section of this scene will be placed somewhere in the first act to further illustrate the frequency of Grace and Walter’s meetings and thereby raising the threat level that Walter poses to Charlie.  I worked with Chris on illustrating that point as well in his scenes. I want him to be clear and honest about his intentions with Grace and try to avoid playing too much of a “Tim Timko” from his Reckless performance.  Though Walter is kind of a slippery character, I don’t want to go overboard with that and turn him into a caricature. Chris takes direction very well and really seemed to take my suggestions to heart.  This resulted in some nice and immediate improvement on his part.

With Andrew, I again addressed the issue of finding the scope of his role as the “Comic Relief” in this show.  He has a tendency to be a little too wacky and cartoonish, and again, I’m afraid of portraying Joe in a too farcical manner.  If we suck all the emotional depth out of who Joe is and turn him into a clown, then the issue of he and Charlie’s friendship loses its weight.  We need to see what it is about Joe that makes him such a great friend to Charlie, and why Charlie needs him around.  Joe and Charlie’s friendship is very symbiotic, and I want to explore what it is that they get from each other.  Charlie obviously gets some enjoyment from Joe’s antics, as his personality is in stark contrast to Joe’s. We also see that Joe genuinely cares for the health and welfare of his friend, and wants him to get better, even though he may joke about it from time to time. But what is it that Joe gets out of this friendship?  Unlocking this point will certainly help define their relationship and bring it to life on stage.  I also got him a set of drumsticks to carry around with him so he can use them more realistically on stage.  I showed him a few things about how to hold the sticks properly, etc., and I hope that he can make his use of them on stage appear somewhat realistic.

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