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May 19, 2017:

STAGING

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, our third rehearsal was, once again, very productive and fun. You may have noticed I’m not actually going into a whole lot of detail because our rehearsal room is a sacred place, but the cast is just terrific, willing to try anything, full of good suggestions – as I’ve mentioned, I don’t give any real direction while I’m blocking. I’m just trying to stage, keep everything moving and interesting, and the actors are free to really try whatever they like and unless I see something going completely in a wrong direction (which I haven’t), I say very little. Kay and I discuss everything – she is on the exact same page as I am – in fact everyone is, and so it’s a very harmonious room. The musical director is doing an excellent job – like all musical directors he’d like more time – the first two days we split evenly – today he got an hour at the top of rehearsal and I got the rest of the day and that’s what needed to happen. I got through more difficult sections and got them smoothed out and playable and by four o’clock we’d blocked two-thirds of the show so I gave the MD the final hour. And then once I’ve assembled the show I told him he can always have the first hour of the day should he need it, as I’ll be doing detail work and then running the show and the actors will be finding their performances.

I was up at nine, did a few morning things, and arrived at the rehearsal room at 10:45. While the hour of music was happening, Kay and I went off on our own to do over the next few scenes, which is always very helpful. Then we began our portion of the day. As we’re working everything out and trying this thing or that thing, I’m constantly finessing the movement of the piece to make sure the blocking feels natural and that’s it’s visually pleasing to my eye. The musical numbers are constantly evolving because one of the goals is to make the songs function not only as a pleasing kind of pop score, but to make the character songs feel organic to the character so it’s not just more singing. Several of the songs are performance numbers, so those are easier. The hours do seem to fly by.

After we wrapped, I headed over to the mail place and picked up some packages, including the final Shostakovich box set I’m getting – I now have about six and they’re all very interesting and very different. I’d been really interested in this one because it’s another Russian composer and Russian orchestra, and their engineers are just so different – it’s occasionally wacky, but I really enjoy the different sound. The last Russian conductor set was the rare Kirill Konrashin set – some wonderful performances in occasionally less than optimal sound, sometimes MUCH less than optimal. This set is conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Would you just look at that last name – it’s like somebody threw a bunch of letters in the air and that’s how they landed. I had Rozhdestvensky conducting Rachmaninoff and I enjoyed his performances very much. And that is certainly proving to be the case with this set, which is just terrific and in much better sound than the Kondrashin set. In any case, after I picked up the packages I went and had an omelet and a bagel for my meal o’ the day, then came home.

It was so nice to be home by six-thirty. I decided to just start listening to the new set whislt catching up with stuff on the computer, as well as having a couple of telephonic conversations. And that was that.

Today I’ll be at rehearsal by eleven. Kay has the first ninety minutes to do one of her numbers, and then we’ll continue staging. I’m hoping we get almost to the end – the penultimate song has another Kay dance number and I’d like to get that done, so we may not actually get to the final scene, but that one’s pretty simple, so we’ll definitely finish everything by the end of Saturday. Not sure what I’ll do for the meal o’ the day.

Tomorrow we’ll finish whatever we haven’t and then we can run assorted things and music. Sunday, I’ll spend the day doing what I call assembling the show or connecting the dots. I start at the top and run every scene, fix whatever needs to be fixed, adjust, assign the scene change if we haven’t already, and then move on to the next scene. That will take the entire day. Then we have Monday off. I have to talk to two LACC actors that morning, and then I have a two-hour work session with Kay Cole and John Boswell for Kay’s act – so not exactly a day off. Tuesday we’re back and we’ll begin run-throughs. The first half of the day will be music and running some scenes and numbers, then around two-thirty we’ll begin our run-through and see just what we’ve got and how long the thing is. Rehearsal ends at five, I’ll eat, and then we begin Dial ‘M’ for Murder that night and that schedule continues for the entire week.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, rehearse, hopefully get close to finishing blocking, eat, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Friday – what is currently in your CD player and your DVD/Blu and Ray player? I’ll start – CD, Shostakovich. Blu and Ray – nothing – no time. Your turn. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had another nice and productive day of staging.

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