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May 17, 2017:

A FUN FIRST DAY OF A FUN REHEARSAL

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we had a really fun and very productive first day of rehearsals. I began the day by telling the cast how I like to work, about my positivity and the energy I like to have in a room, and how my plan is to find the occasional humor, warmth, and joy in what is occasionally a very dark piece. We did a meet and greet and then the set person showed his model, which everyone liked very much. I think everyone was then ready to do the standard table reading, so I informed them that I don’t like table readings, I find them useless, and that we’d just dive in and do our work.

The first three hours were devoted to music learning, so I met with various people about various things. Then it was three hours for me and the staging. I have Kay Cole at my side, always, because we’re a true collaborative team – I’ll ask her advice occasionally about some bit of blocking, and she’ll ask mine about choreography. That’s the way I like it. I’m blocking in show order and I have no real plan, because I like to look at my actors, see what they’re doing and then things immediately come to me. The show opens with a musical number being performed at an awards ceremony – it’s a fun onstage number – but it begins backstage and then the group is introduced and we’re then onstage. I’d already figured out how I wanted to do it and that transition, and I must say it’s quite effective and will be even more so with the set and especially the lighting cue that goes with it. Originally it was just the group backstage waiting to go on, but I added some tech people, too, so there’s good life and energy as the curtain rises. Oh, yeah, I decided on using a front curtain. Hardly any shows ever do that anymore, but I love the convention of not seeing the set or anything until the curtain rise – to me that’s part of the magic of theater. So, the curtain rises on people scurrying about (one member of the group is late), and I think that will play very well. Then we staged the number – not much to stage, but Kay gave them a few nice moves to do. We puzzled over the ending, musically – we tried several different ways and finally came up with the one that worked best. As I explained to the company, I am an endless tinkerer – I stage, watch, change, watch, change – all until it feels and looks the way I like.

We then did the long scene that follows the opening number – it played with it, we found one moment to make funny, and then we did the second song, which is basically a stand and sing song with just one cross in it. So, that flow seems very good. Then we moved on to the next scene, also long, and I got it started, then the musical number began and Kay would get it going, I’d suggest, she’d suggest and we almost finished it by the end of our three hours. The actors and I are having fun, and as I told them the only word they need to banish from their vocabulary is “no.” I’m open to any and everything, and that’s what I expect from everyone. I let them try everything they want to, I futz and finesse, and out of it we come up with fun stuff. I don’t really do any performance direction while we’re blocking. The music is sounding good, too, but both the musical director and I are making arrangement changes as we go – we have to find the “sound” of the show – the song demos for the show all tend to have the same feel and you really don’t want that.

After, a couple of us went over to Mucho Mas – I had one taco and a salad and then I had to quickly mosey on over to the Group Rep Theater to have a production meeting and then auditions. And would you like to know how many people of the fifteen people who wanted to audition and were given audition times showed up? Two. Some L.A. actors are really stupid – I keep a list of these people and I never see them for anything if they don’t let us know they’re not coming. Two of the fifteen did reschedule for tonight. I saw one possibility last night – not perfect, but I know I could get him to be fine. I think we’ll see four or five tonight and then I’m just casting it.

I didn’t get as much sleep as I’d have liked due to weird throat, but while it’s not completely better, it did feel a bit better yesterday so keep sending excellent vibes and xylophones for no sickness, a good throat, and a voice. I didn’t get home until after eight-thiry – I did stop and put gas in the motor car. Once home, I had a huge number of e-mails to read and answer, I listened to music, I had some low-cal low-fat ice cream, and a low-cal no-fat hot dog and that was that.

Today, I’ll be up by nine or nine-thirty, and then at the rehearsal room at ten-thirty. The helper is coming by to take the motor car to get bathed – it hasn’t BEEN bathed in over five months and needs it badly. The first three hours of rehearsal is music learning and then I’ll resume staging for the next three hours. My goal is three scenes a day. If I can do that, the show will be blocked by Sunday. I’ll only have thirty minutes between the end of rehearsal and auditions, so I’ll probably just grab a burger at Tom’s, which is just a block from the rehearsal studio. Or, I may wait and just have a meal after auditions, which shouldn’t really go later than seven.

The rest of the weekend are rehearsals and nothing but rehearsals.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, rehearse, audition, and eat. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had a fun first day of rehearsal.

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