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May 31, 2017:

FASCINATION

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, yesterday was a fascinatingly fascinating day for many reasons, some of which I shall now share with you because they are fascinating and not only fascinating but fascinating. I got seven hours of sleep – that was fascinating. Then I got ready and moseyed on over to the rehearsal room. We ran some choreography, some staging, and our bass player/actor was with us – a real trouper as he had a terrible family tragedy on Monday. I know it was a very difficult day for him, but I also think it probably helped him to be around people who care about him and to just work.

But before I tell you about the fascinating day, may I just be the one to point out that this is the final day of May.  How did THAT happen?  Therefore, tomorrow will be the start of a new month I like to call June.  And may I just say that it is my fervent hope and prayer that June will be a month filled with health, wealth, happiness, creativity, and all things bright and beautiful.

Just before noon, our writer joined us, we introduced him to the cast, and then we began our run-through. The energy in the room was kind of weird for the cast, as the writer was basically writing notes at every step of the run-through. The better way to have done it, of course, would just be to watch, take it all in, then ruminate later and write us notes. But that’s not the way it happened so that was fascinating. The cast did let it affect them in the first third of the show, but they got with it for the rest. They’re a wonderful group and doing a wonderful job and just finding new things as we do each run.

After, we gave our notes, then dismissed the company and gathered round for our notes with the writer. He’d already told me he thought it was very good, and as it turns out all his notes were about the music – nothing about the revisions or the production or the staging and choreography. It helped that Kay’s husband, her ever-lovin’ Michael Lamont was there and he honestly loved what he saw and without any prompting from anyone told the writer that and was very specific about it all. And all the while whilst he gave his music notes he kept saying that despite the notes he knew everything we’d done, in fact, worked, so it was weird for him knowing that. I said very little, as is my wont – Kay spoke up vociferously as did our musical director and I piped up when it was necessary, but the bottom line is that ultimately all the final decisions rest with me and I take that responsibility very seriously. For me, it’s all about the storytelling, both musical and book-wise, about the honesty of the performances, and about the clarity for the audience. And we have that and I don’t want to upset that balance. While there are many things we’ll give a try to, there are others that will be harmful at this point in the process, so we can’t do those. As I said a few days ago, I can’t allow us to in any way go backwards at this point – the actors are all getting comfortable with their characters and to throw a bunch of stuff at them is simply not going to work, especially when we have to lock the show on Friday for technical reasons. This was an accelerated schedule for a two-performance presentation and everyone knew that going in. My job was to do exactly what I’ve done – get it on its feet quickly in a visually pleasing way, get the actors where I need them to be, and let the MD and choreographer do their jobs. The music is very important to our writer but he’s also so close to everything that sometimes it’s just hard to see beyond that to the SHOW that we’re doing, which is not a concert but a musical theatre piece – it’s a bit of a hybrid, as there are performance numbers, which is why I try to keep the feel of the character numbers slightly different, mostly in the way we get into them. Anyway, a lot of this falls on the MD’s shoulders and we’ll be there to support him. I do know that the writer was basically very pleased with the flow and presentation of the show, so that’s a good thing.

After we finished, Kay and I went to the Coral Café for a meal. She had her grilled hot dog and a salad, whilst I had a bacon cheeseburger (my first there – and it was quite good) and a salad. I did speak to the manager about the change in the chicken strips and he said he was thinking about putting it back the way it was – I hope he does exactly that.

Then I picked up some packages and mail, then came home. It was just five o’clock, so I got to answer e-mails and stuff until leaving at six-thirty for our seven o’clock Dial ‘M’ for Murder rehearsal. We began where we left off last Thursday – the end of act two, scene three. There were only a few pages to do, we took a break, and then dove into act three, which is just one long scene. And I got it all blocked save for the last two pages, so that was really good. I’m sure I’ll be futzing and finessing the blocking, once I see the show assembled, but I’m pretty happy with the bones of what we’ve done. After that, I came right home, answered e-mails, and listened to music whilst relaxing.

Today, it’s back to the rehearsal room at eleven. We’ll spend three hours trying to address some of the music notes, then Kay will run one number with the MD as the writer would like to add some elements to the music and it all has to be timed to her choreography. Then we’ll do our run-through around two-thirty, give notes, and that will be that. I don’t think we’re going to do any writer note sessions like we did yesterday – I think he’ll give us notes written down that I can then address as I think they should be addressed. After that, I’ll pick up mail, eat, and then it’s the evening rehearsal – I should be able to finish act three in about thirty minutes or less, and then we’ll go back to the beginning and I’ll assemble it all into a whole.

Tomorrow is more of the same, after Friday’s run-through I’ll lock the show, which we have to do for sound and lighting so they can write and lock their cues. On the weekend days, we may or may not do two run-throughs each day – if I see it’s too hard for the cast, then we’ll just do one and work through other stuff, but if they’re up for it, say with an hour break between, it’s probably good to get those four runs in before our day off and then tech, when things slow down considerably.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a rehearsal, pick up packages, eat, and have a rehearsal. 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 fascinating day filled with fascination – mostly good, which is the trick.

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