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January 27, 2020:

FROM WORST TO BEST

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I had a rather horrid night with little sleep (maybe three to four hours) with muscles in my hand and foot cramping like crazy, an upset tummy, and a terrible allergy attack when my Claritin-D should have still been working.  I took another and that finally helped, but I was so zonked when I got up at nine, and then, of course, I had to be at rehearsal at ten for a run-through.  But let me jump ahead to the part of the day that made it all okay.

While our rehearsal ended at one, I had to come back at five to record some voices that are played during the show, pre-recorded stuff.  Doug had somehow found some blind young people who are aspiring singers and actors to do it.  I really was irritated to have to come back, but a director’s got to do what a director’s got to do.  So, back I came.  Well, these young people (all teens, I think) were so sweet and so captivating and had such positivity that I was absolutely captivated by them.  The recording itself went very well and very quickly and I think they liked me.  We’ve invited them to come to the show and I really hope they do.  Because it’s basically a verbal play, they’d understand everything.  Yes, I’ve instilled it with some nice visuals and physicality, but you don’t need that to understand the play and what’s going on.  Anyway, that was just a magical part of the day.

Our run-through was actually pretty terrific.  We were upstairs for it, but it ran 110 minutes all in, which is just about right, although it continues to get tighter with each run.  But I’m smart enough to let the play breathe when it needs to, to let moments happen.  I can’t say enough how much I love this cast – when you have actors this good, all I need to do is sit there and marvel at the performances and that from day one we’ve all trusted each other and been on the exact same page. Have I mentioned their names?  Well, let me: Kait Haire, Peyton Kirkner, Maria Kress, Bobby Slaski, Lloyd Pedersen, and Carla Rodriguez.  We’re also blessed with a really talented standby, who’ll be playing Kait’s role for one weekend, Torrey Richardson.  I had just a few tiny notes to give and I thought of a couple of tiny things we’ll try at the next one.  As I watch now, I’m just looking for little things that would barely register on an audience but are little tiny moments between the characters that cumulatively add up.  I have a lot of what I call mirroring in the play – mirror images, so to speak, and visually I really like the way those moments play.  And not many line calls at all.  And we’re still a week-and-a-half from opening night, although our invited dress is a week from tomorrow.

After that, I went home and knew what I had to do so I sat on my couch like so much fish and put on a movie – The Reivers – and was asleep within two minutes.  I woke up about forty minutes later, backed up and watched the whole thing.  Every time I see The Reivers I think it will finally be as great as it should be but alas it never quite gets there, despite some lovely scenes and writing and the first real John Williams score that begins to have the Williams sound.  Prior to this film, he’d done romantic comedies and that kind of thing.  But The Reivers is a fantastic Americana score with great themes.  And I’ll just say that Steve McQueen was one of the best screen actors – the camera loved him and he’s so charming and you really can’t take your eyes off him.  Rupert Crosse is great, and Mitch Vogel is good as the young boy.  But oh my, that supporting cast, filled with late 1960s character actors of the highest order, including Lou Frizzel, Will Geer, Juano Hernandez, Ruth White, Michael Constantine, Clifton James, Allyn Ann McLeary, Diane Ladd, Dub Taylor, and Lonny Chapman, the gentleman who started the Group Rep and whose theater is called the Lonny Chapman Theater.  And why didn’t Sharon Farrell have a bigger career.  She’s wonderful.  The film would probably trigger any number of sensitive types who can’t see anything beyond the current year, rather than understanding the time period in which the film takes place.  So, why isn’t it great?  Well, I have to kind of lay it at the feet of the director, Mark Rydell.  He was a good director, at times, but he kind of blows several key scenes, at least for me, the biggest of which is the climactic horse race, where instead of letting John Williams loose, he goes into slow motion and it just kills any excitement that might have been had.  The Blu-ray looks pretty okay.

Then it was the recording, and after that I went to Jerry’s Deli and had a turkey sandwich and no fries or onion rings.  After that, it was home, James, and more couch work.

Last night, I watched a DGA screener I hadn’t gotten around to, entitled Just Mercy.  While it’s a typical justice is finally served story (true story) about a finally exonerated man (Jamie Foxx) who was on death row for years.  But these kinds of tales always work and are always compelling and I enjoyed it very much.

After that, I listened to music and relaxed and even did about twenty pages of proofing.

Today, I am sleeping in and I don’t care who knows it.  Once up, I will have a ME day.  I’ll proof, eat, hopefully pick up some packages, do some banking, and then I’ll just relax, perhaps watch something, listen to music, and that will be IT.

Tomorrow, it’s back to work on the musical, finishing proofing the book, and then a run-through in the evening, preceded by recording Kait Haire and Peyton’s little pre-recorded speeches.  Wednesday I have a meeting and then a run-through, Thursday’s another run-through, and Friday I’ll be at the theater early to run through the light cues with our lighting designer.  The set should mostly be up by Tuesday, and completely finished by Thursday at the latest.  Then we have our tech on Saturday and a dress/tech on Sunday.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, sleep in, have a ME day, proof eat, hopefully pick up packages, bank, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films involving lawyers, justice, and courtrooms – well, theater and novels, too.  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to at least have gone from worst to best rather than vice versa or versa vice.

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