From Page To Stage: The birth of Artless Charlie – Part 21

4/3/03

Tonight’s rehearsal was shortened due to a reading by Mac Wellman in the Spiegel at seven o’clock.  In spite of that, we were still able to have a successful rehearsal in the space.  First off, Adam and I asked how the actors felt about the possibility of making changes this late in the process.  I told them that if they were in any way uncomfortable with this, then we would forget about the changes altogether.  To my surprise, they were all fine with the idea.  We explained to them the nature of these cuts, their placement and the reasons for doing so, and everyone seemed to feel that they were for the better.  Additionally, by keeping the action moving forward, it might help them play the scenes better and tighten up the moments.

After setting up some of the platforms for the first time, we ran through the scenes that seemed most problematic in last nights run, as well as the places where cuts were being considered.  After looking at 1.1, 1.5 and 2.4, we decided to cut the “Findelberg” section in 1.3 and a section of 2.4 that Royston mentioned last night.  The cut in 2.4 is nice because the blocking doesn’t change, but the cut keeps the characters from reiterating the same points too many times in the same scene.  The platforms seem like they will really help divide up the space appropriately, but we could only use two last night because my Technical Director, Andrew D., forgot to remove the casters. Additionally, one of the platforms was about an inch too short, and could be a hazard to the actors on stage. I spoke with Andrew, and he will try his best to remedy the problem tomorrow during our hang and focus.  

I also got my first look at the music boxes at tonight’s rehearsal. Suffice it to say, they were completely unacceptable.  My props master, Sarah U., really let everyone down with her work on this show.  After waiting over a week past the props due date, I finally received the boxes and they were disgraceful.  The oversized hinges were stapled on, they had screws poking out from all directions, and looked basically like they took her 20 minutes to make.  This was extremely disappointing to me, because Sarah received a copy of the script and knew that the music boxes were a major focus of the play.  I asked Erin to speak with her later this evening and see what could be done. In the meantime, I would try to find something myself that might work.

As we wrapped up rehearsal, I asked the actors to stay for a moment so that I could speak with them.  I told them, once again, what a great job I thought they were doing and how pleased I was with the level of commitment they have given to the show.  I also told them that I was concerned that some of my last minute direction in these last days might become oversimplified and somewhat extraneous.  I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t confusing the actors by piling on things to them in the last days of the production. Thankfully, no one felt that this was the case and they all expressed positive feelings about how rehearsals have been going lately.  I was very relieved to hear this from them, as I was becoming concerned that I would overdirect some of the moments in the final few rehearsals in order to get things just right.  I think that because I have become so immersed in this show over the past month and a half, I’ve been having trouble looking at it from an objective perspective.  Adam actually took a day off from the show last week in order to do just that – step away from it.  Though it is too late for me to take any rehearsals off at this point, I will do my best to be conscious of it as we move forward with the show, and hopefully that will keep me in check.

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