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May 29, 2017:

A TIME FOR EVERY NOTES

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, there is a time for every season and a time for every notes and now is the time for every notes, and now is a time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the notes. In other words, here come the notes. As I write them I am listening to the Shostakovich second piano concerto, which is as marvelous a concerto as I’ve ever heard. But more about music later – now is a time for notes. Here are some now: Bb, D, G, Ab, Eb. Those were fine notes as notes go.

Yesterday was rather a day. I was up a little before nine-thirty after six hours of sleep. I got myself ready, and then I moseyed on over to the rehearsal room for a rehearsal. We began with a physical warm-up, which everyone seems to enjoy doing with Kay. Then we had forty minutes of music, and then it was time for our run-through. We were already missing two actors, and yesterday we were missing a third, due to a cold. We told her to stay home and rest her voice so she’ll be better by Tuesday. Still we managed to run the entire show and it was surprisingly smooth – but we are very much looking forward to the return of our full company, which will be full from here on in. After we finished, I gave notes, Kay gave notes, and then we worked a few scenes and numbers. I was very happy to see several of our actors finding new and fun moments for their characters – that always delights the likes of me.

We let the cast go around two-thirty, and several of us went over to the Coral Café. We ordered some chicken strips for the table, but when they arrived I was dismayed to find they were completely different to the ones I love – the waitress confirmed they changed the batter and I confirmed that I hated the new way and that they needed to not “improve” that which was great. We’ll see if they return to the great version – if not, I won’t ever be ordering them again. I had a chicken Caesar wrap and cole slaw. That particular wrap varies in quality from great to merely okay – this one was merely okay.

After that, I moseyed on over to Doug Haverty’s home environment – they were having a little cast party for the play he’s in at the Group Rep. I was there mostly to finally see the model of our Dial ‘M’ for Murder set – it was excellent save for the front door being too center for my taste – so he’ll move that a foot or two to the right (or stage left) and I’ll be very happy. I talked to a few folks, then headed home.

Once here, I answered e-mails, and then relaxed, listening to music all the livelong night. I began with Karel Ancerl’s wonderful performance of the Mahler 9 in beautiful sound. That’s my second favorite Mahler symphony and I was just entranced by the performance, which I liked better than the 60s Bernstein version. Then I listened to the Bruno Walter Mahler 9 from the early 60s, recorded just prior to Walter’s death. It’s a quite different performance, but I enjoyed it very much, and the sound was very good. I listened to the Khachaturian violin concerto, which I absolutely love, then listened to another three Simon Rattle Sibelius symphonies – for me, this highly lauded set (from the amateur reviewers on Amazon) was a complete bust – middling sound and lackluster performances, not a one of which was interesting to me in any way, shape, or form. Then I moved on to the complete Shostakovich concertos – his two piano concertos are very much to my liking, but I like mostly everything by this guy. I also listened to one of his ballets, The Limpid Stream, which I also enjoyed. Still lots of stuff to listen to until I’m all caught up, but it was a wonderful way to spend the evening, whilst catching up with stuff on the computer.

Today, I’ll hopefully sleep in, then I’m choosing songs for the Kritzerland show, I’ll eat something amusing, and, of course, listen to music and perhaps even watch something. But mostly it’s a ME day.

Tomorrow we’re back and in our final week of run-throughs before moving into the theater a week from tomorrow. Our songwriter/co-book writer is with us from now one – so he’ll be seeing what we’ve done for the first time and we can only hope he likes it. I’ve been pretty forthright – not only in asking for changes, but doing minor changes and cosmetic stuff on our own, but always being true to what they wrote – you know, just smoothing out lines that were hard for the actors to say, removing repetition, adding a line or two in their style, just for clarity – lots of little stuff that there wouldn’t have been time for them to do – stuff we just did on the fly. I’m hoping they like it, but if we cut a line they love, we’ll certainly talk about putting it back if we can make it work. But I was extremely sensitive and careful in what we did and it was always in service of the storytelling and clarity for the audience. After he sees our noon o’clock run-through, we’ll run whatever we need to then dismiss the company, and he’ll give us whatever notes he has. As far as anything to do with the production itself (actors, staging, choreography, flow, pace) the final decision on changes rests with me, a power I would never abuse, but will wield if necessary, as that’s the job of the director who is, after all, the leader. Then a few hours later, we’re back in Dial ‘M’ rehearsals and I’ll continue on to act three and we should be finished by Thursday in terms of the blocking, save for any futzing and finessing I may choose to do. The rest of the week is more of the same. I’ll lock the show on Friday, which means no more changes other than whatever notes I may have. The actors need that and I’m not going to screw them up with last-minute stuff. Saturday and Sunday we’ll do two run-throughs per day.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, relax, choose songs, eat, relax, listen to music, maybe watch something, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: Soup. What are your favorite soups? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy in the knowledge that there is a time for every notes.

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