I’m tired. And the buzz from the beer and the bourbon is wearing off. And it’s about time for bed.
News of the day.
I overslept. I was supposed to be at the theatre at 11:30 a.m. I woke up at 11:39 a.m. Seems I set my clock for p.m. and not a.m. I’m lucky I didn’t sleep till the p.m. setting. I’m not sure why I woke up when I did. I rolled over, looked at the clock and said “Oh shit!” I skipped the shower, jumped into yesterdays clothes, brushed my teeth and was out the door in about 10 minutes. I walked into the theatre at 12:02. And that included stopping for a Diet Coke at Quick Trip.
Once I got to the theatre it was a fairly smooth day. I was able to finish my notes with exactly seven minutes left to spare before actor’s were expected on stage.
And then we started rehearsal. Last night was our orchestra dress. It’s the one and only time the cast will sing on stage with the orchestra before they are in front of an audience. I think it went well for the most part. There were some volume issues with the orchestra being but it was taken care of. Technically the show was a mess. There were light cues in the wrong place. There were spots on when they should have been off. Kelly called cues late and early. There were cues that were just downright ugly or weird as I’ve taken to calling them this year. And the entire last scene of the show, which has one song everyone has heard and is the finale of the show wasn’t cued at all. So Kelly and I talked last night and agreed that the actors should skip the staging of Show #3 and have a tech rehearsal of the show that previewed tonight. “The Director” wasn’t exactly thrilled about this but I think it wasn’t a battle he thought he could win. And so today at 2:00 we did a final tech rehearsal of the play.
We started at the beginning and worked forward. The opening of the show is a bitch. There are 20 light cues and about 10 fly cues. And that’s just during the 4+ minutes of the overture. It takes real concentration on Kelly’s part and she has to remain focused. We started today and one of the crew flew a batten to the floor. (These are the pipes that the scenery is attached to and then is flown out to raise the scenery above the stage.) So the scenery came to the floor and then kept coming and the guy stopped with the batten about 10 feet off the deck. And that’s about 20 feet closer to the floor than it needed to be. And so we reset and started again. And the same thing happened again. This time “The Director” begins mouthing off to the side of me. “This is fucked up. Why the fuck can’t they get this right. If this is going to continue, I’m just going to send the actor’s home. You’d think they’d could pay attention to what they are doing.” All of this pisses me off. In reality if we’d have more than three minutes to tech this in the first place it wouldn’t be an issue. We try it again and it’s a success and we move on.
And we continue on with rehearsal. We stopped where we need to fix something, or something was unclear or something just needed to be re-rehearsed. And I think it went well. Kelly was able to figure out the where’s and what’s of off the cues and get them into her call script (the 12″ thick book the stage manager carries around with the script and all the information needed to run the show. It also has all the cues and their placement for the entire show. In theory, anyone could call the show from this script if it was needed…in theory.) And we finished the rehearsal at 4:45 which was 15 minutes early. During the last 45 minutes, “The Director” kept asking if this was really necessary and could we please skip ahead and could we please send the actors home before they got angry. And what’s funny is that only one bothered by the rehearsal today was, yes, you guessed it “The Director.”
I do have to admit that I yelled at my crew today on headset. We were about 20 minutes into the show and I asked the light board op to bring up a light. He replied by telling me the light was already on. I said, “I know. Just bring it up”. Just as I said this, follow spot #1 chimed in and said in a snippy way that the light was already on. And I said I KNOW! And then I had Kelly stop rehearsal so I could explain what was going on. Except that I was sort of being a bit of an ass about it. In my very stern manner I explained that I only had a certain amount of time to get through the show and that if they were going to argue with me for the entire time we might as well quit now and make everyone’s life easier.
And just to be fair. The light was already on. I knew this. If I capture that light on the board at a certain level, even if it’s already on in the current cue, I can record just that light in any other cue. It only changes that light and doesn’t effect the cue you are currently in. So what I was trying to do was record the follow spot on in a cue two seconds earlier. So I had to turn the light on, even though it was already on. The reason I got snippy is because there is a light cue about every 45 seconds, so sometimes there isn’t enough time to fix the cue that I’m in so I’m behind a cue or two with the action of the play. So I’m having to watch for new mistakes while I correct a cue that happened 90 seconds ago. I have to work FAST to make this happen. Which means that the board op has to type as fast as I talk, and I have to know what I’m doing and NO ONE can question my decisions. They just have to move. And after I yelled, the rest of the afternoon went well. They both apologized later for making me stop rehearsal to explain myself.
And then we previewed the show tonight. And I thought it was beautiful. I think I’ve done an amazing job of capturing the essence of the play while embracing the director’s ideas. Kelly called an awesome show. I had about 10 notes for her after the show but they were more about making me happy then how the show looked. Call this cue one count earlier in the music. I’ve changed the count on this cue to 12 so it needs to happen a few seconds earlier. The spot pick up was late. Things like this. I also had a number of notes that said things like “bravo” “yippee” and “perfect”. A stage manager can make or break your show and Kelly is awesome. She’s one of the best I’ve ever worked with, and is by far the best musical stage manager I’ve ever worked with. There are a couple of cues that have to time out so that the light fades on the actor in a slow count at the very last audible sound of the note the actor is singing. When this happens the moment gives you shivers. She’s nailed it every time.
The only note I got from “The Director” today was that the cue coming out of this musical cue mentioned above should be faster. I disagreed, but he’s the director and I don’t work in a democracy. So I changed it. I got one note after the preview tonight. The cue coming out of the musical cue mentioned above was too fast. It should be slowed. I just chuckled to myself. And I made the change which made me happy because it was right the first time.
After the show we all went out for drinks. It was a little celebratory session because we’ve all worked hard this week and we all needed a drink. So we hung out at the bar and had a good time. At the bar “The Director” asked me about the last cue of the show. He wanted to know if the last cue was a slow cue or if the lights bumped out. I said it was a slow cue. To which he replied, “I think the lights should bump out at the end.” To which I replied, “You can make me change any other cue in the show. But I will NOT change the last cue of the show.” It’s not a democracy but sometimes there are uprisings. The last song of the show has the lovers having finally found each other after searching the world, singing about what their life is going to be like from that point on. It’s a song about realizing what life is really about and that it’s not always sunshine and lollipops. There is strife and sorrow. But that as they say, that which does not kill you makes you stronger. And so they sing. And then they are joined by the rest of their traveling companions and then finally they are joined on stage by the entire company. The last section of the show is sung acapella and is amazing. Every time I hear it I get goose bumps. And so at the end of the song the lovers move upstage (there is a circular platform that is raked (at an incline) and at the top of the rake they stop and embrace and the lights fade. There are two light cues. The first as they move up the rake. We go from a sunny blue sky to a beautiful orange sunset. And as they get to the top and are silouhetted against the sunset the lights start to fade. As they fade the orange part of the sky is the last to go and there is a moment where nothing is lit and the lovers are dark, silouhetted only by the sky and just as the last note of the orchestra is fading the lights fade and the play is over. I think it’s beautiful and so I refused to even think about changing it. When he saw how strongly I felt about this he relented. Good.
I have a photo I pulled off line from a photographer that has taken photos of our show. It has a big copywrited water mark on it, but I’m using it anyway. The only reason I haven’t purchased the real photo is because I’m waiting till the end of the season to order an entire package from him for my portfolio. So don’t think bad of me for stealing. I promise to pay for it later.
And I’ll end by saying I have a little crush. I’m completely smitten with someone in the company. I just think they are cute as a button. Of course I’m probably the same age as his parents, which is kind of weird. And I’m more likely to win the lottery than have something happen. And I’m about 99% sure that I wouldn’t go there anyway. But it’s nice to look. And it’s nice to think back to what it was like when I was ten. And how much fun I’d be having if indeed I were 10 again.