Four Days in the Theatre
(Why am I naming days?)
8/5/14, Day, 13,972: Faust and Family
This day is so named for a great rehearsal of Faust in a tiny rehearsal room, where we worked some of the big ensemble scenes. I’m reminded of the joy of working on a larger cast play, particularly one that isn’t in primarily in service of one or two main arcs, but where every character on stage is worth your focus. When it works, there’s an emergent energy that holds the attention just as strongly as a more tightly-plotted traditional narrative; it almost has an immersive quality in that you as an audience member have agency in which character’s perception of the events you want to track.
8/6/14, Day, 13,973: Rehearsing At the Breakaway
This day is so named because I ended up taking the director reins from a sick Isaiah Tanenbaum for Nat Cassidy’s scene for Have Another from his space play, At the Breakaway. I had a great time digging under the surface of the slacker comedy in the first scene with actors Aaron, Chris, Jen and (sister) Marnie. While there’s a fair amount of comedy, world-building and exposition that needs to be made clear and engaging, it’s really the longing and loneliness underneath that is the engine of the action.
It reminded me how difficult it is to really know a play and how it optimally works. I’d seen this scene staged twice before-seen the whole play staged–and read the scene over several times, but completely missed what was most interesting about the scene until I dug into it with these great actors.
Now, I don’t know how much will translate onto the stage of Have Another (we’d need more rehearsal for that), but I do know how absolutely essential it is as an interpretative artist to not rush to a hard-and-fast opinion to soon in a process. Keeping your options open and being aware of what’s really alive in the room is everything in the early going.
Also, my sister is an amazing actor. But you probably already knew that, right?
8/7/14, Day, 13,974: Faust and the Tonal Slalom
This day is so named for our rehearsal of what I think is the most difficult scene in our adaptation of Faust, the scene with the witch and the monkeys. The scene is absurd, but it also needs to be at various moments scary, funny, sad and gorgeous, creating a fast downhill tonal slalom that I’m not entirely sure is actually possible to navigate.
To make matters more challenging, it falls where an act break (if we take it) would fall. After this scene, the play moves into some of its strongest writing (I think) and a real momentum develops. To use a probably inapt baseball metaphor, this witch and monkeys scene is batting in the third position, and it could either end the inning or position us to blow things out. I’m concerned that by putting the most difficult scene to get right in the most difficult spot in the lineup, I’ve set us too great a challenge for what is possible in our rapidly diminishing rehearsal period. That said, I trust this great team to make it work, if such a crazy scene can be made to work at all.
8/8/14, Day, 13,975: Violent Bones Rehearsal
Speaking of tricky tone, this day is so named for our Have Another rehearsal of Adam’s Violent Bones. Some of Adam’s work has a very particular rhythm that has to be in place for anything to work. Luckily, we have some Adam veterans working on this piece, and I think we’re getting a hold of a lot of what’s there.
This week has been exhausting, as I’m still a little sick and yet haven’t had anything less than a 12 hour day. But, I’m doing what I love with the people I love, and feeling mostly positive about these last strange days before everything changes. And I’ve got to find a way to keep blogging here, as there’s a direct correlation between my discipline and my writing about it, but as the week goes on I get so tired…
Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…
Writing: 120 out of 144 days (Untitled Space Play)
Spanish: 107 out of 144 days
Music: 19 out of 49 days
What small things did I do the past few days to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”)
- Signed Cory Booker’s petition for sick day protection for workers;
- Asked Obama to fire CIA Director John Brennan for illegally spying on Congress to cover up its role in Bush-era torture;
- Added my support to the USA Freedom Act to hold the NSA accountable to the public;
- Ate vegetarian and mostly organic, local food.