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June 29, 2017:

THE FIRST PREVIEW AND BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we have survived our first preview. I was told we’d have around twenty to thirty people for the first preview, but we ended up with over forty, which was great. As first previews go it was pretty good, if you ask me. The cast did well and did the notes from the night before, and the light cues were pretty spot on, save for a couple of tiny hiccups that no one would have noticed. Unfortunately, the sound cues were not good and in some cases ruined what was happening on stage. The lady who volunteered to do it has not done it before and she’s very much out of her comfort zone. So, we’ll address those issues today, because we can’t have phones going off when someone’s already picked up, or door buzzers going off early and late or when they’re not supposed to. There are a lot of sound cues in this show, due to all the music, and I added thunder and rain to the murder scene – plus all the phone and door stuff. The production is so professional in terms of acting, set, and lights, that this kind of thing takes an audience right out of the show, and with Dial ‘M’ for Murder that is deadly. Fortunately our preview audience was very understanding and I think they really liked the show. I’m guessing not many of them had ever seen it, because you could hear a pin drop during all the explanation scenes, and they laughed when they should (well, almost – our cast has to learn where the funny bits are in the early part of scene one) – well, it is a devilishly clever play. Some of the performances were much better, so I’d say we’re 80% where I think we should be and hopefully we can achieve the other 20% by Friday’s opening.

I knew several folks in the audience – Robert Yacko was there, and Leslie Young and daughter Alexa sat next to me. And I knew a few Group Rep people, too. All in all, not a bad first preview at all, and we’ll fix all the sound hiccups by this evening. The set still isn’t quite finished, but it’s only a couple of things and I’m told they’ll be right for tonight.

Prior to that, I’d had a fine old day if you don’t take into consideration that I felt miserable due to this thing I had, whatever it may have been. The cough was terrible and painful, and I’m obviously in the phlegm breaking up stage, which is disgusting – so much guck coming out of my nose and throat. I hate it. I did get ten hours of sleep and although I could squawk out some sounds, the voice was pretty trashed. But I rested all day, had some chicken soup and a bagel, and by the end of the day I at least had a semblance of a voice. I’m hoping by tomorrow that it’s a bit stronger. I feel super congested, too, but if I keep blowing it out of me hopefully it will be better sooner than later.

But mostly I just stayed put and did stuff on the computer and listened to some bits of music. Then it was the preview, then I gave what notes I had, and then came home.

Today is more of the same – I’ll probably have chicken soup and a bagel again, rest, hopefully pick up some packages, and then we’ll convene at the theater at six to go over a few things – the opening five minutes of the play are so critical in setting the tone that we just have to get it right. The audience really wants to laugh and we’re just not letting them know that it’s okay to laugh. And there was a slight problem in the murder scene – the actor who gets it has a habit of not straightening up when he’s stabbed and if he doesn’t you see a glimpse of the trick that’s being done. So, he just has to do exactly what I’m telling him to do – it worked perfectly the night before, but we have to get it consistently consistent. Then we’ll play our second preview and I’m hoping that we have a nice house again, perhaps even more.

Tomorrow I relax until we play our opening night performance. They always have a little partay after, but I also will probably want to go out after that. The weekend is all relaxing. I’ll definitely go to the Saturday night show, but not sure about the Sunday matinee – have to see how I’m feeling.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, eat, hopefully pick up some packages, run a few things, and then play our second preview. Today’s topic of discussion: What are the funniest mishaps you’ve ever seen during a stage performance? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy we survived our first preview and happy the phlegm is breaking up even though phlegm breaking up is hard to do.

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