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November 30, 2019:

THE ONE THAT’S ALWAYS SLIGHTLY OFF

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we had us a tech run-through last night.  But before we get to that, may I just be the one to point out that this is the last day of November?  How did that happen?  And tomorrow will be the first day of December and the final month of 2019, and it is my fervent hope and prayer that December will be a month filled with health, wealth, happiness, creativity, and all things bright and beautiful.  Once my stage manager understood how we’re opening each act, all of that ran very smoothly.  In acts two and three there are virtually two light cues – up at the top and down at the end.  In act one there are a few more – up at the top, an internal light cue for Whiteside’s long story about Crockfield, a restore after that, down at the end of scene one, up on scene two, and down at the end of the act.  That is it.  There are, however, a ton of sound cues, most of which were correct last night.  Now, in the sixty years that I’ve been doing theater and especially the fifty years I’ve been doing it professionally, it has been my experience that somewhere around this point in the process there is always one rehearsal where everything is simply off – sometimes in a large way, sometimes in a small way, and yes, Virginia, there are still moments that are spot on.  Last night was that rehearsal.  Right from the top things were just a little off – timing-wise, line-wise, cue-wise, and performance-wise.  Stuff that’s been working pretty well – slightly off.  I took copious notes and during act three I used half a sheet of paper to write one word: PRECISION.  Plays like this are machines and everything has to be precise.  There’s not one moment that can be anything but precise.  But, as I said, it happens with every play I’ve ever been in or directed, so it wasn’t really a surprise to me.  In any case, I wasn’t going to spend two hours typing up my notes and sending them via e-mail, so we wrapped at 9:45 and I gave them then.  It took a half-hour – I scribble madly and sometimes it takes me a second or two to actually decipher.  I also gave a tough love talk – and I do adore this cast bunches – and also reminded everyone that I am always positive and given that I said that I could boil it all down to: Good – that we got that out of our system and now let’s do our show.  There are some things I have to run so I’m meeting a couple of actors an hour early to work in the lobby.  I’ve asked for a few more lights, as there are areas that are a bit too dark for my taste. I changed the blocking for the fourth time for a bit that happens late in act three.  And part of that change worked splendidly, but in the end, it caused a stage-wait at the end of it, so we’re putting it back the way it was.  Anyway, happy to have that past us.

Prior to that, I got a bit over eight hours of sleep, did the usual morning things in the usual way, then went and picked up one package, then figured Jerry’s Deli would be empty because everyone ate like pigs the night before, and why spend money when there are all those leftovers.  Well, wrong.  It was jammed, which I found very irritating.  So, I just got a little lox and cream cheese to go, came home, and made two lox and cream cheese sandwiches on the onion bagels I’d bought the day before.  That was most excellent.  I listened to music, answered e-mails, had telephonic conversations, and basically relaxed.  Then it was time to mosey on over to the theater to see the light cues and looks.

I got there a bit after five, was pretty happy with what I saw, made a couple of suggestions, and then the cast began arriving.  Before we started the run-through, I ran two or three things and then we began.  The rest you know.

Afterwards, I came right home, had another bagel, lox, and cream cheese, and caught up on stuff.  And am very grateful I don’t have to spend the next two hours typing up notes and sending them.

Today, I’ll be up by eleven, I’ll do the morning stuff, I’ll stop at the mail place and hopefully pick up some packages, then I’ll arrive at the theater just before two.  We’ll run one scene in the lobby for twenty minutes, and then another scene for ten minutes.  That will be half-hour.  I’m hoping we can start right at three and run without any stops at all.  Then we’ll have an hour meal break, after which I’ll give a few notes, and then we do it all over again.  After that, I’ll work any problem sections.  I’m hoping to get us out by nine-thirty at the latest.

Tomorrow is exactly the same.  I’ll probably have a couple of people come in at two to run stuff, then we’ll do run one at three, and then our final tech rehearsal after that, this time adding costumes.  Costumes, I may add, that I have never seen.  In fact, I’ve never actually had a conversation with the costume designer, a first in all my fifty years of directing professional theater.  Hopefully, for all our sakes, I’ll like what I see.  Monday we’re off, Tuesday is our invited dress, although I won’t have people there if the costumes aren’t ready, Wednesday and Thursday are previews, and then we open.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up by eleven, do the morning stuff, hopefully pick up packages, work on a couple of scenes, do a run-through, have a quick bite to eat, have a second run-through, and work problems.  Today’s topic of discussion: What foods are you completely addicted to, you know, the ones you simply could not do without?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had the one performance that we needed to get out of our system, the one that’s always slightly off.

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