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November 14, 2018:

FINAL DRESS/TECH

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we had us our final dress/tech last night.  We had about twenty people in attendance.  The show got off to a rough start due to communication issues.  The actors were not given places – nothing after they got their five.  So, how they were supposed to have a clew the show was starting is anyone’s guess.  I’d told the lighting gal, who is kind of dealing with it, we should start and unfortunately she took me literally and literally started before I’d even entered the theater.  I was supposed to give a curtain speech, the usual we may have to stop stuff all directors give before a dress or preview performance.  I never had time to do that.  I walked into the theater and the house lights had already gone out as had the preset and suddenly music began but no one had been given places so people were scurrying to get onstage before the lights came up – some made it, some didn’t, no one had their props.  Had I given the curtain speech I would have stopped it immediately, made a joke about it, and started again.  But it didn’t feel right to do that not having given warning.

So, the actors were discombobulated from the beginning and it kind of threw everyone’s energy off, and despite the pace being really good, the actor energy wasn’t quite where it should have been and I think everyone felt it.  Some stuff worked very well, and there were certainly sections of the show that played fine.  But thankfully the audience doesn’t really know what it’s usually like so they had nothing to judge it by in that regard and they seemed to enjoy it. There were laughs, the numbers all got nice hands and it’s really a feel good show, which I think people appreciate. There were sound mixing issues, a few lighting flubs (the gal who’s actually running the show ran it for the first time and did well considering it was her first time), not too many line flubs and it was fun to have some audience energy in the room.

But let’s back up a bit, shall we?  I got almost eight hours of sleep, answered e-mails, and then moseyed on over to Jerry’s Deli for a lunch meeting.  But I’d been pondering the opening of our show and for the past week I’ve known something was not quite right about it and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was bugging me about it.  The way the show begins is – house lights to half, house lights out, preset out, some actors enter in darkness, and then the opening vamp begins and the lights bump up to reveal a busy office.  And it was that seven seconds in black with nothing going on while actors were entering that was bugging me.  Just before I left for Jerry’s the solution came to me and of course I should have seen it long ago, and yet sometimes it just takes time to see what’s what.  And the solution was to create an eight-bar piece of music based on the tune of the first two lines of the opening song, a big mini-overture thing of ten seconds or so, that would get the audience right in the mood and get us going with a bang.

So, as soon as I got to Jerry’s I called Richard Allen, our orchestrator/MD and I told him what I wanted, hummed it to him, he “got” it right away, and I told him I’d be home in an hour and fifteen minutes.  He said he’d get to work on it.  The lunch meeting was fun, then I picked up a package, then came home.  And the track was already waiting for me.  I listened, it was absolutely perfect, and we sent it along to the sound designer.  I spent the afternoon doing a few things on the computer and having some telephonic conversations and wondering how in tarnation I’m going to actually make it through this week.

Then I went to the theater, we showed the cast how the mini-overture thing worked, Tesshi came and we’re going to do one more thing to the panels on the set that will really help the final ten minutes of the show and do exactly what I wanted for a little extra pizazz.  The costumes mostly looked excellent – they had a huge bow in Peyton’s hair, which I found very distracting, so that’s going away.  But all the quick changes worked, so that was great.  The show ran exactly ninety minutes.  I gave some notes after, but the company really knew that things were slightly off and we weren’t really helped by having two days off prior to doing this final dress.  I gave my sound notes and then went to Gelson’s for my evening snack, then came home and ate it.

Today, I’ll try to write some liner notes, but mostly I’ll relax, eat, hopefully pick up some packages, and then we play our first preview.  I’m getting there at six and we’ll work out some kinks with the sound and a couple of staging things.

Tomorrow is more of the same and we play our second preview.  I also think I’m finally getting a haircut.  And then, Friday we open our show – it looks like it will either be sold out or close to it.  I have to write everyone thank you notes, so that will take some time.  And then we play our weekend performances.  I have to be at all of them as the entire weekend is treated like three opening nights.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, write, eat, hopefully pick up packages, work out some kinks, and then play our first preview.  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 gotten through our final dress/tech in at least a reasonably good way.

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