Last week, we blocked Stave 1 all in one rehearsal and thought, "Wow..that was a lot of work for one long rehearsal...Four more like that and we'll have the other four staves blocked as well!" But we decided at that time it was probably just too much to cram all into five rehearsals and we should slow down a little. It didn't exactly work out that way. The the following THREE rehearsals (and a marathon session until late last night) we blocked the rest of the show. So, in our plan to extend the blocking time, we actually shortened it by a day, blocking it in only FOUR days. I don't think either one of us thought about it until after we were already totally done.
I met with Steve Coleman yesterday to discuss more of his ideas for the set & set pieces. He's got some great ideas and will be a little more hands-on after his art exhibit opens at the Throckmorton next Tuesday. Check it out here
I also went over all the sound design with Julian and our sound designer Josh Hittleman
. He's also enlisted the one and only Jeremy Fortes
(is that a good thing or a bad thing??? :) ) to help out in creating some of the ghostly effects. Believe it or not the name "Hunter S. Thompson"
came up several times in the discussion of sound for the show...
I'm slowly remembering what it's like to produce a show that I'm also in. It sucks. I'd really rather focus on the performance, but I find myself being distracted by the minutae of organization. Thankfully, I started early enough on this project that I was able to take care of most of the things that would have monopolized my attention during a period I should be focusing on learning lines.
David Templeton wrote a nice article in TBA magazine (known to the old skool folks as "Callboard") and there should be a few other articles coming out in the month of December. I don't care too much for the interviews and press aspects (though most journalists & critics are nice people just doing their job) as much as other actors do, but it's necessary to get out the word on a great show like this one.
Which brings to the around to the point of "Why another A Christmas Carol
?"--a question people keep asking me. There are a few reasons, the biggest of which is my personal connection to the story. My family wasn't well off growing up but my parents tried to make Christmas special to my brothers and I. I think there are many individual elements (as well as the story as a whole) that embody true Christmas Spirit. I think that it extends beyond Christmas to any religion or culture, even if you don't celebrate Christmas per se. Whatever you celebrate, let it come from the goodness of your heart and for the betterment of the world.
"Are you going to hug a tree now??" I hear you say.... OK OK OK. It's mushy, etc. but there's something in it.
Another reason I tell people is that Dickens used to do public readings of Carol
where he'd stand at a podium, book in hand, and play all the characters (he used a shortened "Public Reading Edition" and is about half the length of the full story, which would likely be close to a three-hour reading!). This was the classic and most authentic way of "performing" the story that Dickens preferred. Nowadays, the only productions you see are these large stage productions with special effects, ghosts, smoke and so on, which are so over the top (and often very hokey--like A.C.T's Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come in last-year's production) that they are overlooking the heart of the story. It's become about the spectacle and not about the story itself. This is where my production comes in, landing firmly BETWEEN these two examples. It's not a reading and there aren't any lasers and flying-bedsheet ghosts. Besides, who can compete with the power of the imagination? Using the imaginations of the audience members is the most powerful tool of all.
Oh... for those of you that don't know...the title of the story is "A Christmas Carol"...not "Christmas Carol".. Don't forget the "A"...it's important. If you've ever seen the show and understood what you saw, you'd know why. :)