Whoops. For the first time in weeks I skipped a day in my journal.
Sorry to those who kept reloading all day to see what was wrong.
Yesterday (Saturday) morning I woke up with my car still at the shop. I finally
was able to get to my car at abour 10:30 in the morning and left for the theatre
to help out with the show's work day. We loaded in scenery, platforms, cleaned
backstage, etc. At about 2pm many of us went to Great America. We left most of
our cars at Notre Dame and left for Great America. We road rides, saw shows, The
Crew sang "Summer Lovin'" (deja vu all over again), and a good time was had by
all. Then, as if we hadn't had a long day already, we decided that we would
attempt to catch Silver Creek's (a local high school) closing night production
of Into the Woods.
The great thing about working on this Notre Dame show is that I get to attempt
to do what a few of my past good directors have done, kept me in the path
towards continuing with the theatre. There have been many instances when I would
have just as easily thrown in the towel. But then, an inspiring person,
director, actor, whoever comes around and shows me why I'm doing this. I don't
know if I've helped anyone at Notre Dame on that path. But, sooner or later,
if I continue working with younger actors, I will.
The production of Into the Woods at Silver Creek was decent. Certainly
not the fault of any of the actors. It was a problem of bad direction.
It's the director's job to tell the story. The story of Into the Woods
was not told. The audience was never allowed to begin relationships with
characters, to care or hate or love or question. Without these relationships
between audience and character, the ending catharsis was unrealized. Before
working on this show, I was in the camp that thought Into the Woods
was too preachy for its own good. I love many of the songs, enjoy so much
the opportunity to play the Baker, etc. But, there comes a point when
an audience member should be allowed to stop being taught a lesson. Or not.
Now that I'm so heavily involved with the show, I feel a bit differently. The
reason for this is very selfish (both for me and those who will see our
production). Wheras Silver creek didn't arch, didn't allow for emotion,
Notre Dame's production does. Since I know many of you are going to be seeing
the production, and have never seen the show before, I'll resist from
saying too much (ask me, talk to me about it, after you've seen it... I love
this stuff...) about it now. But, in a nutshell, you are to build strong
unconscious relationships with several characters. When things happen to
these characters as the story unfolds you are then going to feel something
for them because of this attachment you have gained. Many who have watched
our rehearsals, both who know the show backwards and forwards and new people who
have never seen us or the show, have reacted the way I hope and trust our
audience will react.
The overall terrible thing, inexcusable as far as I'm concerned,
about Silver Creek's production was that I could tell that very few of
the actor's had their hearts in the show. It's just something that is
easy to read. I lay the fault, again, on the director. I know from being
on both sides of the stage, both as actor and director, that it is the
responsibility of the director to gain a trusting cast. When the cast
trusts that they aren't looking bad, when they trust that they are
doing their best, putting on a great show, etc. then they "read"
as being comfortable. Especially for a high school show, you want your
actors to be comfortable with themselves, their performance, their show.
When I feel good about my performance and my show, it shows. When
an entire cast feels good about their show and performance, it sells.
So, we saw the show and then went out to eat afterwards to talk about what
we saw and goof around after a long day, a long two months of rehearsals.
One inside joke after another, after a while the conversation was nothing
but "call backs" to past jokes. We got a little silly. It's been fun to
be working on a high school show, as well, because I get to take time off
and be back in high school again for small periods of time.
At midnight we realized that our cars were then locked inside the
school's gates. So, we decided that since we had an early rehearsal the next
day (this morning) we would simply sleep over at one of their houses
and all go to rehearsal together. So, we did.
Our rehearsal today was with the orchestra. It was the first time the cast and
orchestra got together. Most productions like this don't do this until a day or
two before opening night, so it was nice to be able to do it five days before,
instead. We got through a lot of the show and will do the rest tomorrow.
The orchestra sounds great. The show looks to really be fantastic. I've
been worried along the way, at times. My worry is out the window. Now, I can't
wait. I feel good. Let's just hope you feel up for a good cry next weekend
and that our cast can get it out of you...
The Tony Awards. To go or not to go, that is the question. It now appears
that getting tickets to the Tonys will happen afterall. But wait, here's
the rub, Jess isn't going to be able to go after all. Family plans
are taking her out of the picture that weekend. That and not staying
as long as I had wanted to got me thinking that perhaps I should just not
go to the Tonys this year. Maybe I could go longer later in the summer.
I'd like to go to see friends, meet people, etc. The Tonys are nice
and all, but I know I'll be just as hot inside Radio City with
a packed house full of fancy dresses and hot stuffy tuxedos. Sometimes
it's just nicer sitting at home watching it in front of the TV. Comfy,
close to a bathroom, refrigerater, etc. We'll see... I'll probably end
up going to the Tonys, heading to NYC for 3 or 4 days like last June.
Then, perhaps I'll go again, like last year, in August for a longer stretch
Into the Woods has a cue to cue tomorrow with some early rehearsal
time begining at 4pm. We'll get close to 30 hours of rehearsal time in a
period of four days. Crunch time. But first, sleep time...