Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Misadventures of Sarah Goldman (Beau Jest Rehearsal Diaries, Part 3)

Saturday, December 20, 2015
A full run-through today! I feel more ready today than I have during this whole run. There are still little things to work out and figure out, and we’re adding actual food into the Seder on Monday. But with producer previews coming up on Tuesday, I’m feeling pretty good.
Both Bryan and Todd have inadvertently discovered how very ticklish the back of my knees are, and it’s a problem. ESPECIALLY with Todd. In the opening scene, I have my legs draped over his lap and I was SO JUMPY today the whole time my legs were there, because he kept starting to put his hands on the back of my knees. I know they’d both just leave me alone if I didn’t react so hugely, but it’s not entirely in my control.
One difficult thing about rehearsal today—they took away our couch! One of the legs is broken. We were in the middle of the Shabbat meal scene when some people came in and removed the couch and replaced it with chairs. We made a few jokes about how Sarah forgot to lock her door. We were actually each a little worried about how it had happened. Ben A made a joke about how the kissing scene got a little too intense, but I looked at Bryan and said I hoped it wasn’t from the other night when we spent a few minutes falling onto the back of the couch because it was fun. (“I like falling, but I don’t like landing,” Bryan explained.) But apparently it’s been broken for a while. I hope we get it back soon—it is DIFFICULT to rehearse with those chairs instead. They’re smaller, and it’s hard to do certain blocking things.
Monday, we introduce food to the Seder meal! We’re also playing the “dice game,” which involves switching casts after running for as many minutes as the dice dictates, and eventually impressions and emotions as well. I’m super excited about it.
Oh! And I spoke with the Deseret News today about the show and my experience in it. I was a little unsure at first, but I feel like I was able to express some important and true things. I’m excited to read the article when it comes out.

Monday, December 21, 2015
The dice game was SO MUCH FUN! I was so impressed with EVERYONE in the cast. Everyone rocked it. Eric pointed out the vulnerability of an exercise like this, when we’re called upon to do stupid impressions and crazy emotions and to transition quickly. It’s kind of beautiful to see everyone support each other and to laugh together. I loved it. And I did make some fun discoveries. Eric just gave us the greatest pep talk in the world after rehearsal, instead of notes. It was such a great night. Eric and Tammy both laughed until they cried. We all did.
In an effort to dissuade Todd from tickling the back of my knees tonight, I bit his hand. Twice. When that didn’t stop him, I licked his hand. He watched me do it, then said, “Whoa. That was…awesome.” *sigh* It did not dissuade him AT ALL. Dang it.
In other news, I sometimes worry that my physical affection for those around me will be misinterpreted as inappropriate. Like, maybe people think that I, as a married woman, shouldn’t be cuddling with other people? But it’s not that I’m making any of it sexual or even romantic. It’s just that physical touch is my love language. And I’m not physically affectionate with EVERYONE just because not everyone is comfortable with it. It’s not everyone ELSE’S love language. But for those people who do speak the love language of physical touch, it’s how we communicate—cuddles and hand holding and massages. And plus, theatre people. Theatre people in general seem to have fewer physical boundaries. So we’re all kind of more touchy-feely anyway. It’s just that all touch has such romantic or sexual weight in our current society that I worry a little. But not enough to change anything.
On a completely different note, we’ve got producer previews tomorrow—woo hoo! Also…I’m definitely NOT coming down with a cold (uuuggghhhhh).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015
First producer preview down! We made Mark laugh out loud, multiple times. So that was awesome. It was a fairly solid run, although nerves sort of got the better of us. We were a little scared, and a little unused to having an audience there, so we were a little frenetic. Lines weren’t quite what they usually are, and there were a few spots that didn’t go as smoothly as they usually do. But it was still solid. The biggest note we got is to trust the script and ground our work in reality. I think with our nerves, we got a little lost in the shtick, and moved away from the natural-ness of it all.
Eric and Sally kept talking about making sure our choices are grounded in being natural and honest. And in the back of my mind, I thought, “But…my honesty IS kind of weird. Like, me being natural and genuine might not seem as grounded in reality, just because the way I act isn’t quite how other people act. I’m kind of weird.” I trust Eric to pull me back if needed.
I feel okay about my work tonight. It was a little disconnected in places, but generally okay. In Ben Hopkin’s class, he talks about how technique, or “communication” makes up for where we fall short in connection. I feel like I’m a solid enough actress technique-wise that I can carry off a show pretty well, even if my connection is suffering a little. I know I can do BETTER, though. I feel confident we can get it to where it needs to be. We just had to get this very slightly clunky bit out of the way.
Speaking of bits, we’re probably going to cut a couple of them. Mark and Sally said they like working with Eric because he gives them lots to work with, and then they come in and do sort of a “final edit.” So after the other cast’s producer preview, we’ll see what changes need to be made. (One change that’s being made: kissing Chris in the opening scene after all! I looked over at Todd after notes and said, “Hey, we’re gonna kiss!” Bryan frowned at Todd and then said, “I get Todd’s secondsies?” I just rolled my eyes. I actually agree with Sally that it’s a more effective moment—to have Sarah KISSING someone on the couch, then saying, “Oh that’ll be my date,” when the doorbell rings.)
Sally told an awesome story that I wanted to record. So, in the script, Bob says that he works at the Candlelight Playhouse every so often. At the end of the show, he says he’ll be doing “Fiddler on the Roof” there. The Candlelight Playhouse is a real theatre in Chicago, and years and years ago, Mark and Sally went to see a show there. It was the first time they had ever seen a theatre in the round that had a moving stage. It wasn’t terribly high-tech—it could only rotate as far as the extension cords would reach. But at this point, Mark and Sally were designing the new theatre, the theatre we’re currently in. So Mark came home from the Candlelight Playhouse and said, “I think we should have a rotating stage.” And the Hale West Valley rotating stage was born.
As we left the theatre tonight, Bryan and I both started moon-walking to our cars (don't remember why). His car was about 10 yards away. Mine was about 100. After about four seconds of moon-walking, I said, “If we were really committed actors, we’d both do this all the way to our cars.” Bryan said, “I AM a really committed actor.” I laughed and then said, “Dang it! What have I done?!” But I freaking did it—I moon-walked all the way to my car. I moon-walked over a curb, over grass, down the other curb. I almost tripped once, but I made it. My shoes were filled with slushy water afterwards, but it was totally worth it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Other cast’s producer preview! I took a ton of notes, as always. (Ha. Always. I’ve only been double cast twice.) I think the sweet spot is somewhere in between their cast and ours, as far as realism and energy goes. The biggest note THEY got was to amp up the energy and volume.
Todd and Becca were including the added stage kiss in their run, they decided to figure it out before rehearsal officially started. Eric and I sat and watched, creepily, so that I knew how it would go. Becca and Todd ran their scene, then Becca and I switched out and I ran it. (Afterwards, Todd said, “Okay, who’s next?” Bryan put his phone down—the one he’d been pretending to video-tape us with—and took my place in Todd’s arms. I took Bryan’s phone out of his hands and captured the tender moment.) 

Thursday, December 24, 2015
Today, I thought about the fact that Beau Jest won’t last forever, and it broke my heart a little. I have no choice but to live in the moment and just enjoy every second of doing this show, because if I don’t, I’ll start to crumble. Maybe that’s unhealthy? I just feel so lucky lucky lucky blessed blessed blessed. That I get to play this part. That I get to tell this story. That I get to do it with these people.
I think having a day or two off from rehearsal will be helpful for us—give us a chance to sort of “refresh” and come back to the script with new eyes.
I can’t believe I get to do this.

Saturday, December 26, 2015
I’m having a hard time understanding what day it is. We didn’t have rehearsal Thursday or yesterday, but we had rehearsal today. But we don’t have rehearsal tomorrow. We have rehearsal the next day. My brain is struggling.                        
Today’s rehearsal included so many things. We started out with cast photos. (Man, I love my wig.) Also, Ric looks like Mr. Feeney from Boy Meets World in his costume and glasses. (Realization: That actor who plays Mr. Feeney has a New England accent. We were all trying to impersonate him, and I realized that it’s not “slightly British,” as we first thought, it’s New England. *The More You Know*)
I had one terrifying moment during photos, when Bryan reminded me to take off my FitBit, and I noticed that I wasn’t wearing my wedding ring. I mean, I wasn’t SUPPOSED to be, and I had loosened it earlier to remind me to take it off. But I couldn’t remember actually taking it off, or where I had put it. I felt tearful and vaguely panicked for a moment, but told myself to just do the photos, then look, and then I could panic and cry if I couldn’t find it. I got back to the costume shop and searched my makeup kit and my purse, and didn’t find it. Then I stepped into the dressing room and there, shining on the floor, was my wedding ring. I picked it up and ran back into the shop and did a victory lap, exclaiming (and explaining) joyfully. I’m so glad I never had to panic and cry about it. I think I might just not wear it to the theatre anymore. Just to be safe.
After photos, and changing back into regular clothes (a t-shirt and my husband’s wolf pajama pants, in my case), we did a white elephant gift exchange, where I stole two Alien action figures, which were promptly stolen back from me. In the end, Bryan and I struck a deal—I stole a pocketknife back for him, and he gave me the funny t-shirt he had gotten for it. So now I have Todd’s old t-shirt, which just says, “George is still running.” There’s actually a valid explanation for the caption, but I like how cryptic it is without the explanation.  
Then we had the famous SPEED-THROUGH! Dueling cast-style. It was a race to see who could get the best time. We took a break at intermission for sandwiches, and it took me all of that break to recover my normal breath. In the end, Tammy refused to tell us which cast won, and gave us ALL a prize (2 comp tickets to the show for ANY NIGHT during the run). The two casts started at different times, because of Todd being single cast, so at the end of Act One, we had finished before the other cast. So we waited until they were done and then pretended like we were still finishing when they came in. (I don’t think we ever actually told them about our deception.)
The speed-through was really helpful. Eric said that sometimes actors complain about speed-throughs, because you never actually do a show that way. But we all talked about how helpful it really is! It lets you know where you don’t know your lines and cues. It heightens your focus. It helps you find places where speed is actually better. It increases camaraderie among cast members (despite the competition between casts). It helps you be aware of intonation patterns. Ric shared a final thought, and he got a little bit emotional as he said it. He said that the speed-through truly taught him what talent we have in this production. He said he was so impressed with all of us, and feels so so lucky to be doing this with all of us. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
For some reason, I had it in my head that we were going to do an additional full run after the speed-throughs, but it turns out we didn’t—we were done by 2 o’clock. I found myself lingering, chatting with Andy and Bryan and Tammy, not wanting to leave. I feel more at home at the theatre than anywhere else (besides home). Eventually, I did get into my car and drove off, but not without wishing I had an excuse to stay, chatting or working. I’ve missed everyone the last two days, and I’ll miss them again tomorrow. I suppose I’ll get a good healthy dose of everyone this coming week—tech week is officially begun!
The other day, Jacob asked me if I feel ready for opening (on Thursday!!!). I thought for a moment and replied that I feel ready acting-wise. The things I don’t feel ready for are all tech things—quick changes and working with the wig and being in the space. But I know those are all things we’ll work on next week. So I feel confident I’ll be ready by the time we actually open. There are still moments that I know could be stronger, but I also know that they’re great where they are, and that they’ll improve with more rehearsal time. And it will take us a few shows with an audience for the show to sort of “settle.” Not as in “settling for what it is,” but for it to get comfortable in its groove. I’m excited for that to happen.
Here goes nothin’!

Monday, December 28, 2015
First night of tech! It actually didn’t even really feel like rehearsal. We did mic EQ’s, and then rehearsed the quick-changes. We were only there from 6 pm to 8:30 pm. It was super helpful to do quick-changes, though. Barbara (the costume designer) is going to make a few additional adjustments to make them even easier. The set’s in the middle of change-over, but there’s enough there for us to get a sense of distance and timing. 
I’m excited for the set to be all loaded in, and to start REALLY rehearsing. Each cast has got two full runs in the space before opening, and I kind of wish we had more. Okay, not kind of, I DEFINITELY wish we had more! But I’m confident enough in our abilities to make it work. Doing shows at the Playmill taught me how to “fake it ‘til you make it” when it comes to having a show ready. And Jacob is the only one I have coming to opening night, and he’ll be seeing it again a few weeks later. All my other people are coming a few shows into the run…we’ll have had some time to solidify everything even better.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Day after tomorrow. That’s when we open. We have one more run. GAH!
Tonight was pretty good—not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but not as good as it will be tomorrow. We were just kind of “in our heads” tonight. We added so many elements—new props, costumes, lights, sound, the set itself. Pretty darn smooth for all that new stuff. Some line flubs and repeats. Our favorite of the night was Bryan saying, “Did your doctor subscribe askpirin for you?” There were also a few silly technical things during quick changes, but I think we’ll get them figured out. I think tomorrow I might sit down and write out the details of how we’re doing things. Not just what needs to be done, like “put on dress,” but the specifics of how the dress is put on (who does the buckle, etc). I think that will help.
But there were also all these strange little things that compounded to throw us off—at one point, Bryan and I hold hands, but our fingers were like, off by one digit on the interlocking business, so things were just weird. Things like that. The wine was sweeter than we expected. There were smaller spoons with the Seder meal. The vodka glasses were fuller than usual. The bedroom and kitchen had doors. All these little things. But still. We got through it!
Mark said tonight that at this point, all we really need is an audience. And we’ll have a few tomorrow night! We’re having a sort of “invited dress.” That will actually be REALLY HELPFUL. New Year’s feels like so much pressure to get it right, and it will be nice to have a sort of “beta audience” first.
I don’t feel as ready as I want to feel, but I suppose there’s not much I can do about it.
Final thing to record: Eric is so kind as a director. His encouragement has been so helpful, and it makes it easier to believe in the greatness of our work.
One day closer to opening night. GAH.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015
This is it! Final dress rehearsal was tonight! And I feel so much better about the show. Last night, I wasn’t quite sure if we’d really be ready. But after tonight, I feel pretty good. It was a pretty smooth run—we were all focused and listening and present. Any little flubs (because we still had a few) were covered easily and quickly. It was also helpful to have a little bit of an audience there. Starting to get some of that laughter and energy from them really brought things to life.
Mark compliments my wig every time I see him, as well I should. He also told me to try my mic pack on my thigh to avoid the “bustle” look of it being around my waist, and I'm a little nervous about that--I've never had it work very well. 
And I’m glad our run was good—I was so GRUMPY beforehand! A prayer before our run helped. And I feel pretty good! 

So this is it. Opening night. I’m ready.

No comments: