Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to the stunningly beautiful music of Gabriel Faure, the man who gave the world one of the most beautiful melodies ever written, the Pavane. I’d recently heard a very bad-sounding and poorly performed CD of his popular pieces – Pelleas and Melisande, Dolly, and others, and thankfully I had another – on Deutsche Grammophon conducted by Seiji Ozawa with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The recording is really incredible – beautiful, warm, inviting sound that perfectly suits these delicate pieces. But enough about Faure and on to the notes. That’s why we’re here – the damn notes.
Yesterday was a sorta kinda day. I got more than seven hours of sleep but less than eight hours of sleep. Upon arising, I immediately had a horrible allergy attack, so I took a Claritin-D. It took a couple of hours to finally kick in and I’ve been okay since. I answered e-mails, and then I went to Ralph’s and got two of those slider things, one for lunch and one for when I got home from rehearsal, since each package is only 210 calories. I also was completely out of Diet Coke and waters so I got those, too. I came home and ate the first package of sliders, had a little visit with Grant, who is still recovering from his little surgery, he scanned a few things for me for upcoming releases. I also got word that we officially made the switch to another actress for our show. The artistic director of the theater did that. It’s not something any of us relished doing, but it had become painfully clear that the situation was never going to get better and even if at any point the scene and song had been done letter perfect there would be no guarantee that it would be consistent. We just couldn’t take that chance with this production – it wasn’t fair to the writers nor the cast.
I did some work on the computer and then got ready for our evening rehearsal. The plan was to meet Hartley, our star, and the gal who’s replacing the other actress, to go through the scene and song. We did that at six and she already had a good handle on it. We kept a couple of little comedic bits I’d given the other actress, because they seem right for the character, and while she was on book for the run-through, she actually got through most of it just fine. We also went through the other stuff she was previously doing in the show which, because of adding this new role for her, we had to reassign to other actors – that was actually surprisingly easy. And we arrived to find a wonderful painted floor and all the set pieces now painted.
Then everyone arrived and I made the announcement about the actor switch. Most understood immediately why it was necessary, but a couple of people looked really surprised by it, which surprised me. I did explain that we’d given every chance we knew how to give and that for whatever reason, after eight weeks of having the song and tracks and four weeks of rehearsals, we’d never once gotten through either scene or song the way it was actually written.
Then I had to restage a little of the opening number, since we were down one body, and I also assigned the other stuff that needed to be assigned. Once all that was done, we got the three actors in their mics and began the run-through. We never really stopped for anything, but the sound folks were trying things and experimenting, which they need to do, but some of that is confusing for an actor to hear. Some of the cues were late, but mostly I can tell we’ll be fine, sound-wise, it’s just finding the right balance for everything, which is daunting when the mixer isn’t in the house but in a booth where he’s mixing to the sound from a speaker in the booth. It’s not optimal but in this theater there is no choice so we simply have to make the best of that situation. The run-through itself had some good stuff happen, but the fun wasn’t there, so after, I had the “fun” speech and I know everyone will take that to heart. I restaged a couple of things to get actors in front of either the hanging mics or the foot mics, so that will help sound. The truly funniest thing in the show was adorable Peyton Kirkner having the hiccups during one scene – she couldn’t stop them. When I began talking after the run, I began with, “Well, we had a few hiccups tonight – literally.” It was funny.
I held the few actor notes to give before the run-through this evening, and I gave sound a few notes – just little things to watch out for. Then I came home, ate the second slider thing and had a few matzohs so I’d be close to 1000 calories. I listened to more music and that was that. Oh, and no pension check – clearly lost and I’m beginning to get very angry that SAG/AFTRA is making me wait, so I’ll be calling them today because they asked me to wait until the tenth, but they don’t work on Saturdays and Monday is a holiday and they’re not working then either. It’s time for them to make this right. It’s really outrageous.
Today, I’ll be up early and I’ll mosey on over to the theater and arrive at ten. We’ll then dry tech the show for however long that takes. She’ll write her cues as we go. I actually think that whole thing could go pretty quickly. If it does, then I’ll go home and come back. But if it takes until three or four, I’ll just go eat something and stick around, as our run-through begins at six. After the run-through, I’ll give notes and block the curtain call, since the end of it involves music.
Tomorrow, we’ll begin at ten with a cue-to-cue or if we’re in decent shape we may simply go straight to the run-through. Then we’ll take some photographs for publicity purposes, have an hour lunch break, and then do a second run where I’ll let the actors conserve vocal energy on the songs. I’ll get everyone out as early as I can so they have plenty of time to rest up for our recording on Sunday. Then we have Monday off and everyone can rest up for the very busy week ahead, which includes final dress on Tuesday, previews on Wednesday and Thursday, and then our opening weekend. They’ll begin wearing costumes on Saturday.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do a dry tech, either go home and eat something, or eat something near the theater if we run into the later afternoon. Then we’ll have our first tech run-through at six, after which I’ll block the curtain call and perhaps run some fixes. 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, lots more music. DVD, just got three more DGA screeners. Your turn. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, after the sorta kinda day.