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October 9, 2018:

STAGING 101

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we had our first staging rehearsal last evening and it went pretty well, I thought.  Every time I begin a new show I feel like I’ve never directed anything before.  But I dive in and even if it’s rough I just plow ahead.  That’s what happened last night.  I’d sketched out the very opening of the show so I got that done right away and that looked fine.  And then the main part of the number began and that’s what took a long time to get right. I started one way and really didn’t like it at all when I watched it a few times.  So, I gave everyone a break and just walked the stage thinking – and whilst doing that I got a good idea and that was my way into how to fix the staging, which needed to be dynamic getting into the lyric but then static enough to actually hear the lyrics.  After the break, I took about forty-five minutes and got the first two verses done, then did the bridge, and that’s followed by a little scene.  I got that staged quickly and then we were into the second half of the number.  The first part of the second half was easy to stage.  And then I realized that the final two verses of the song, with a slight adjustment, would work the same as the first half of the song.  I had trouble communicating that it was exactly the same as the first time they’d moved into the first verse, and finally I just went back and had them run the first move – once we did that then everyone understood, I made the adjustment, and brought the kids chorus back (they’re the first sung thing in the show) for the big finish.  And there’s a tag ending after the last sung line and I knew what I wanted for that and got that staged and the number was done.  I wish we’d actually filmed it, but we didn’t think of that until it was too late, but my assistant director looked like she was taking really careful notes with detailed diagrams of all the moves.  We won’t run it until tomorrow night, and once we review, we’ll film it just to have it.

The kids get the night off tonight as do a few cast members who aren’t involved in what’s being staged tonight, which are the two numbers that Kay Cole is choreographing.  All in all, it was really fun and I only wish I hadn’t lost patience a little because I wasn’t being as clear as I should have been, but that was brief.  I must say that for a long number it moves incredibly fast and that includes the scenes.

Prior to all that, I’d had a rough night of allergies, so I only slept about six hours. Once up, I took all my preventatives because at that point I wasn’t all that certain if I was getting sick.  But it really was my allergies, as I later found out when the Claritin-D wore off and I immediately began sneezing up a storm, real allergy sneezes.  I went and had a cup of chicken soup and a patty melt.  Then I picked up a couple of packages, then came home.  I listened to music (the marvelous John Mauceri recording of Street Scene), did some work on the computer and then had to head over to the theater for the sound test we were going to do at rehearsal.

I’m afraid the sound was a complete bust and won’t work at all.  I was apprehensive about it for the past week, because the guy who I’d asked to do it I don’t think really understood what the needs of a musical are – he’s not done it before – he’s a concert guy.  We thought that hanging three condenser mics would work, but unless you turn the tracks so low you simply can’t hear them at all.  It’s a real problem and one we have to solve.  He didn’t “get” that the sound has to be designed, written, and pre-mixed. We’re going to have to go a completely different route and I’m just hopeful that I can find someone to do it with the money we’ve got, because that’s the money we’ve got and there isn’t a penny more.

After rehearsal, I came right home, had some ice cream, which helps calm my throat down, and then it was time to write these here notes.

Today, I have a noon o’clock meeting, I’ll hopefully pick up packages, and then I’ll relax until it’s time to go to the theater for our seven o’clock rehearsal.

The rest of the week is meetings and meals and rehearsals until Friday, when we’re off until Monday.  I don’t know what the weekend has in store.  And Monday we tackle a sequence that we have to build with everyone and Richard Allen and I have to figure out how the music for it will work.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a meeting, hopefully pick up packages, and then have a rehearsal. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite Kurt Weill songs.  I’m a big fan of his music, I must say.  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had a fun first staging rehearsal.

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