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November 3, 2019:

ACT TWO – BLOCKED

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, our leading man joined us for rehearsal, and it was ever so much fun to have him there and get him up to speed.  We began right at ten – my assistant director gave him his blocking, which he wrote down, and then we began at the top of act one and ran that entire act.  He got all the blocking right and, of course, seeing him do it I added a few things.  I’m letting the actors find their way before diving in with specific notes – I’ll do that for another few days and see what needs to be addressed.  Then we began act two – really funny stuff and fun to watch.  And by the end of our four-hour session I’d blocked all of act two save for the final three pages.  So, that was a great day’s work.

I’d only gotten about four hours of sleep due to ABS – Active Brain Syndrome – got up, shaved and showered, and was at the theater by 9:40.  After rehearsal, I went directly to the mail place.  I’d decided doing Dino’s Pizza was being sprung too quickly, so I think I’ll announce that on Monday that next Saturday that will be a thing for anyone who wants to partake.  I picked up a couple of packages, then came home.

I made tuna sandwiches for the meal o’ the day, ate them whilst listening to music, did some work at the piano and got lyrics revised for a song that was actually the first one I worked on for this new show – now that we’re twelve songs in I felt we didn’t have the voices of the characters right in this first thing and there were scan issues that I wanted to get fixed.  It took about five or six tries and we got it where I was happy.  I had some telephonic conversations, and then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on DVD entitled The White Trap, a Brit bottom-of-the-bill low-budget programmer that never made its way to the US.  It wasn’t very good and had little to recommend it, other than a score by a composer I’ve become very fond of named Franz Reizenstein.  The movie was included as an extra in a box set of Edgar Wallace Mysteries, which I happily had and found easily in the garage.

After that, I watched another motion picture, this one on a homegrown Warner Archive DVD entitled I Thank a Fool, starring Miss Susan Hayward, Mr. Peter Finch, Mr. Cyril Cusack, and Miss Diane Cilento and directed by Robert Stevens.  It’s really surprising that Mr. Stevens didn’t have a solid career doing movies – his direction here was superb.  The movie’s a potboiler that gets rather silly, but I do love Miss Hayward, and the other actors, especially Cyril Cusack were great.  It’s handsomely photographed by Harry Waxman and has a nice score by Ron Goodwin, who replaced the film’s first composer.  It’s certainly worth a watch for the performances and direction and the excellent sets of Sean Kenney – who was the set designer for the musicals Stop the World – I Want to Get Off and Oliver.  I’ve always been a huge fan of the director – and this film just confirmed how great he was and how he should have been given more films.  He did most of his work for TV but even that stopped happening for him in the 1970s, which is just disgusting.  So, here are a few little TV things he directed that you’ve probably seen and loved: two of the greatest Twilight Zone episodes – the pilot, Where Is Everybody, and Walking Distance.  He directed forty-four episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, including the classics, The Glass Eye, Specialty of the House, and Consider Her Ways. He came to a sad end, beaten and robbed at his home in Connecticut, he died a few days later of cardiac arrest.

After that, I listened to music, including two more versions of the Faure Requiem, neither one replacing the two that I really like.  I had a couple telephonic conversations, and then just relaxed until it was time to write these here notes.

Today, I can sleep in, and it’s going to be a ME day.  I may do a little writing, but that’s about it.  I’ll eat, pick up a package I know is coming, and I’ll watch movies and listen to music.

Tomorrow, we’ll complete act two quickly, then dive into act three, so Barry Pearl as Banjo joins our merry troupe, so that will be mounds of fun, I’m sure.  Days are filled with meetings and meals, and evening rehearsals run through Thursday, and resume on Saturday.  If I keep up the pace we’re moving at, then we could start assembling the show on Wednesday, which would be great.  This is the kind of show where everyone will find their characters and finesse them the more we run.  I’m not all that big on spending hours on a scene.  I just like to run the thing over and over again – actors get comfy in lines that way and the same goes for blocking.  That comfort frees them to get the characters strong.  And I’ll keep hammering away at the overall pace and the internal pace of each sequence.  And I’ll hopefully continue to find stuff that’s funny – we found two or three good things yesterday.  Our leading man, Jim Beaver, is going to be great and I think a unique Sherry.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, sleep in, pick up a package or two, eat, and have a ME day.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s free-for-all day, the day in which you dear readers get to make with the topics and we all get to post about them.  So, let’s have loads of lovely topics and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy that we have our leading man and that we basically blocked act two.

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