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November 24, 2019:

THE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE PRODUCTIVE REHEARSAL

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we had a pretty good run-through yesterday morning, despite being upstairs and not having our set to work on or most of the props.  I realized that it’s actually counter-productive to go back to the rehearsal space when one is this close to tech, so we took a vote and today, rather than beginning at ten, we’ll do our run-through at four on the set with all our props.  There weren’t nearly as many line calls, so that was great, and there were a couple of spontaneous bits that made me laugh so we’re keeping them in.  Best of all, the run time came down again.  So, now it looks like we still need to lose the most time from act two – nine minutes.  Act one was really only six minutes too long, so that was a big step forward on that one.  Act three is getting pretty consistently under thirty minutes now and when all the lines are solid, I’m sure we’ll run around twenty-five.  We wrapped about forty-five minutes early.

I’d only gotten about five hours of sleep prior to that and was out the door at nine, stopped at the ATM and then put gas in the motor car.  After rehearsal, I really didn’t want to waste an hour in a restaurant, so I just picked up McDonald’s – I think there will be a major McDonald’s hiatus for a few months.  But they have a mix-and-match thing going on, so you can get two nice items for the price of one plus one dollar.  My whole lunch cost $6.97.

I came home, ate the food, listened to music, answered e-mails, and then sat on my couch like so much fish and promptly dozed off for about forty minutes.  Then I began watching the first of three DVDs, which was entitled NY Export: Opus Jazz.  It’s the wonderful dance piece by Jerome Robbins – his staging and choreography are great – this was done back in 1958 on the heels of West Side Story, and it’s very much in that vernacular.  This, however, is a new “film” version of it and I wish I could tell you you must have it, but I can’t and I shan’t.  It’s rather pretentious, poorly directed by two guys who like like they just graduated film school.  They’ve conceptualized it on locations with lots of gratuitous shots of New York between the actual sections of the ballet.  The dancers are very good and you’ll probably recognize a few of them, but if you’ve seen the original company – there’s an Ed Sullivan Show that has this from 1958 – these people are simply not as suited to this as the 1958 company was.  In one of the extras, they opine that they think Robbins would have loved this “film.”  I opine that he would not be having any of it, especially the inept shooting of the dancing.  One overhead shot might be effective for a few seconds, but twenty is not effective.  One shot from behind the dancers might be effective (but probably wouldn’t be, since it is pointless), but thirty such shots are not.  Close-ups in dance are ridiculous.  Shots of feet are ridiculous.  Shooting dance properly is an art, and you can see that art in that Ed Sullivan clip, where Mr. Robbins directed the cameras.  And attention must be paid to the great score by Robert Prince, which was recorded not once but TWICE – once on RCA and once on Warner Bros. – naturally, neither have been released on CD.  I’m almost tempted to license the Warner Bros. version conducted by Mr. Prince, and which also contains the Bernstein dances from West Side Story in spectacular Warner Bros. sound.  Yes, maybe I just will.  I wonder if anyone would buy such a release.  Let me know your thoughts, won’t you, dear readers?

Finally, I watched a DGA screener entitled The Report.  It’s in the vein of All the President’s Men and those kinds of true-life paranoid thrillers.  It is, of course, maddening to watch this and realize how the American public is lied to over and over and over again, especially by the CIA, and it doesn’t really matter which party is in office.  And when the heavily redacted report is made public do you think one person from the CIA was indicted or fired or anything?  No.  This is what this country has become and of course it’s only gotten worse since, especially in the lies department.  It’s not a great movie or anything – and yes, there’s the obligatory droning score that serves no purpose whatsoever, along with a completely stupid end title song.  The acting is all very good, especially Adam Driver and Annette Bening as Dianne Feinstein.

After that, I had a toasted bagel and an English muffin for my evening snacks.  I listened to more music by composers new to me – I especially liked the second symphony of a person called Leon Orthel.  And two wonderful piano concertos by a woman called Zara Levina – you can find them on the Tube of You – if you like Rachmaninoff you’ll like these.  And then it was time to write these here notes, which, in case you haven’t noticed, is what the HELL I’ve been doing.

Today, I can sleep in and I will sleep in and no one can say boo about it.  Then I’ll relax and then we’ll have our run-through at four and be done by seven at the latest, hopefully.  Then I’ll eat and watch something.

Tomorrow and this week is rehearsals until Thanksgiving – run-throughs every night.  That’s the ticket and what we need.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, sleep in, relax, have a run-through, eat, and watch something.  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 to have had a counter-productive productive rehearsal.

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