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November 27, 2019:

SPITTING DISTANCE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, on our very first day of rehearsal I said the following, “Buy Sambucol today – if you’re around anyone who’s sick, begin taking it immediately.”  Some did, some didn’t.  But of course, now we have some sick cast members, including our leading man.  He’s a total pro and soldiered through the run-through – my kind of guy.  He immediately bought Sambucol and has been taking it and I believe it will help him get over it quickly.  My assistant director is also sick – she has not taken Sambucol.  And since I was sitting next to her for the rehearsal, I am taking Sambucol – that said, I’ve been taking it for a week because I know how this works.  The run-through itself was interesting.  Despite the illness and our leading man taking it easy on his voice, he incorporated all the notes I’d given the night before and act one had real shape and pace as I watched it.  But it was still a surprise to me when our stage manager gave me the running time – forty-seven minutes, which is within spitting distance of the forty-five I’d like it to run.  We’ve gotten it down some twelve minutes over the last week, so I know we can get the other three minutes shaved off of it.  Act two, on the other hand, was kind of a mess – lots of dropped lines or pauses or finally calling for line from just about everyone.  The act ran a whopping fifty-two minutes – I don’t want it longer than forty minutes – that’s twelve minutes we have to take off – but we’ve done it in forty-seven before so I know it can happen.  It’s all picking up cues, talking faster than you think you have to, and driving the scenes.  It’s a long and somewhat complicated act, structurally, but when it’s cooking it just plays beautifully.  I especially have to run the opening of it to get it fast and sharp.  Same with act three – just dragged for the first five minutes.  It ran thirty minutes and needs to run twenty-five.  We had our alternate Banjo and he did a nice job with not a lick of rehearsal.  He’s very different than Barry and I am not the kind of director who’s going to shoehorn Barry’s performance on him – yes, the blocking is the same, the bits are the same, but he’s finding his own path.  I just gave two or three general notes and that was that.  I stopped at Rite Aid on the way home and got some Airborne, just so I’m taking all my preventatives.

Prior to that, I got about seven hours of sleep, I think, maybe a bit more.  Once up, I did the usual morning things, did some work at the piano and computer, then recorded the latest song for this musical I’m working on and sent that off where it needed to go.  Then I went to Jerry’s Deli and had a patty melt and side Caesar salad, both very good.  There was a little drama at the booth across from me, one of the window booths.  About four men in the booth, and suddenly the one on the end shoved the table, jumped up, ran out of the restaurant and through the window I could see him jump into a waiting car.  The other guys were a little slow on the uptake but got out there.  There was a lot yammering I couldn’t understand – I hope to get the details today, perhaps.  I suspect it was a drug deal of some sort – an odd place to do it.  But who knows?  The Shadow knows, but not I.

Then I went to the mail place and picked up some packages, including a DGA screener of Joker and a Warner Bros. letter with instructions how to download all the movies they have up for consideration.  So, come tomorrow, I’ll be able to watch a bunch before Thanksgiving dinner and then after.  After that, I came home and listened to a few of the symphonies of Rued Langgaard, a fascinating composer and character, who found little appreciation or success.  He could write conventionally (kind of Mahleresque), and rather unconventionally for the time – his first symphony written when he was fifteen – a fine work and very long.  He also wrote a couple of symphonies that last six minutes.  He went his own way and was very ahead of his time in certain ways.  One of his pieces, not a symphony, called Music of the Spheres, prefigured the kind of thing Ligeti would write many years later.  In fact, when Ligeti was shown the score for that piece he famously said that he had no idea that he was shadowing Langaard.  I’m really enjoying going through these symphonies – have heard nine of the sixteen so far.

Once home from Rite Aid, I listened to Langaard, had a telephonic conversation, and then wrote these here notes, as I still have to type up and send the cast the run-through notes.

Today, I can sleep in a bit, do the usual morning things, then I’ll eat, hopefully pick up some packages, then relax until rehearsal.  I am determined to start ONE of these rehearsals on time.  Bound and determined.  Do you know how hard it is to type whilst bound?  Just asking.  Then we’ll have another run-through and, if we do start on time, I’ll actually be able to work through some problem stuff, which I’d like to do.  It’s really not that much, but we have to get it right when it’s the start of an act.

Tomorrow is, of course, Thanksgiving, so I will definitely sleep in, then watch stuff until it’s time to go to Thanksgiving dinner at the Pearls.  Then I’ll come home and watch more.  Friday, I go to the theater early to see the lighting and run cues, and then the cast arrives and we’ll do our first run with lights and sound.  Saturday, we don’t begin until three.  We’ll start with a run-through with lights, then I’ll have about forty-five minutes to clean up, then we’ll have an hour break and then do our second run-through.  Sunday is the exact same schedule, and then Monday we’re off.  Tuesday is an invited dress rehearsal, Wednesday and Thursday are previews, and we open on Friday.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, sleep in a bit, do the usual things, eat, hopefully pick up packages, then rehearse.  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 the first act timing has gotten within spitting distance of where it needs to be.

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