Monday, August 20, 2012

"I'm Sorry" Part 2

4.  Week 2:  We managed to finish blocking Act II and did some more character work.  Not as productive as I had hoped but it was okay.  Except we had a couple of Bobbles!

5.  Second Bobble:    Several months ago, my daughter and I had set up this week as "Grammy Camp" for my granddaughter.   It was fun and we did a few things we enjoyed.  The Bobble came in with the length of my day.  (Remember, I am a complete and TOTAL Night Owl.  Now that I'm retired, I stay up really late (usually around 3:00 a.m.) and I also sleep really late (I usually don't get up until 10:30 or 11).  Grammy Camp started at 8:30 am and I usually didn't get home from the evening's rehearsal until 10:30 or 11 pm....wide awake, and unable to even think about going to bed.  At 8:30 am, I was sleepy, groggy, and not very motivated to move.  It was a good week.  M-t-G and I had a good time but the long days really wore me out.  I barely accomplished anything other than the Camp and the Rehearsal.  There is a reason God gives children to young women!!

6.  Third, Fourth, and Fifth Bobble:  This was a killer!  Our male lead reported to me that he had forgotten that there was a family wedding on one of the Performance Nights and that he was one of the Groomsmen!!  It was over 50 miles away and he couldn't guarantee that he could get back in time for the performance.    He was only 19 years old and I think he was getting great pressure from his family, so he chose to drop out of the production.  Well, cra.......bcakes!    

That same night, our female lead (also age 19) had a big time meltdown because she and her boyfriend were breaking up and she was heartbroken.  She was practically sobbing because she was so miserable.  She told me she didn't think she could go on with the show because she was so unhappy and wouldn't be able to give the production the attention it deserved!   Well, cra.....ckers and beans!!

Also that same night (Oh, what a night!), we also lost our Stage Manager!  She was engaged to the male lead that had just dropped out and even though they were not yet married, it was "whither thou goest..." and she was out too!!  Well, CRAP ON A BUN!

Knowing that a teenaged broken heart is survivable, I asked the female lead to think it over and not make a decision until she had calmed down.  I darned near slept with my fingers crossed!

In the next few days I networked with every theater person I know in the Austin-area, because I need to replace one male actor (able to play age 21), one Stage Manager, and possible one female actor who could play 19 and could sing!  

7.  Bobble Resolution:   Actors do not grow on trees!  And getting replacements is arduous at best.  I talked to every one I could.  The good news is that the female lead dried her tears decided to stay!  Whew!  One Disaster Averted!!

As for our male lead, finally after four days and being turned down by FIVE different actors I contacted, I was getting really desperate!  I only knew of one more actor that would be right for the role....and no one could reach him!!  If I couldn't get hold of him and convince him to take the role, I really didn't know where else to turn.  Nevertheless, Murphy kept his stupid nose out of this particular problem and we were FINALLY able to reach my last resort!  And wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, he accepted the role. In fact, he was thrilled and excited.   And furthermore, he was absolutely perfect for the role!!  I had hoped that he would be at the original audition because I knew he was right for the role.  I had been disappointed when he wasn't there.  No matter though!  He said YES and he is well into the role after a few days of rehearsal!!  Second Disaster Averted!

As for Bobble #4 our re-committed female lead also brought along a Stage Manager for us!!
Oh Hallelujah!  Final Disaster Averted!!

Except that it wasn't the Final Disaster!!  Come back tomorrow for Part Three of the road to the "Bus Stop"!!   And why I am soooo sorry!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"I'm Sorry" Part One

I love theatre.  Really I do.   And I especially love directing plays.  Each experience is unique, completely separate and different from every other experience.  Each group of actors and tech people come together carrying their own personal baggage and personalities which all leads up to some great experiences, some disasters, and some that seem to be controlled by Murphy's most famous law..."What can go wrong, will go wrong!"

The production of "Bus Stop" that we are in rehearsal for is a mix of a little bit of each!
I'll give you some of the highlights which might just help you understand why I having been missing in action from Blogland.  To wit:

1.  Auditions were wonderful!  We had at least two auditionees for each role.  That is great because it gives you CHOICES!  Casting a show is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of a director's job.  The most demoralizing thing for a director is having to cast people that are wrong for a part just because there is NO ONE else!  We didn't have to do that with this show!  In fact, I have been extremely fortunate that that has never happened to me when I was directing.  (At least, not so far!)

Because of the choices I had, I was able to put together a great cast!  People that were not only the right age, type, and look but also good actors!  I was thrilled.

I strongly emphasized that anyone accepting a role, must be available for all performances!  I was hoping this would ensure that the cast remained whole through out the entire production.  All eight cast members assured me they were available for all performances and we were off and running!

2.  Week 1  --  Went well,  had our read-through, started our character discussions, began blocking  (when and where the actors move on stage) and finished Act I blocking.  Some people reported a few additional conflicts for some rehearsal dates, but that's pretty normal.  We frequently have to work around actors' work/school schedules, it's a pain, but in community theatre everyone is a volunteer and they have lives, jobs, families, and responsibilities that must be accommodated.  

3.  First Bobble:  Community theater generally doesn't have a lot of money for mounting productions.  And it's costly!  For this group, each production receives the grand total of $350 as the production budget.  I'm not complaining, it used to be $250!  But still anything over and above that amount has to come out of the director....the UNPAID director's pocket.  It works but it can be a problem, so we scrounge, borrow, shop Goodwill, and beg for things like period furniture, set design props, and paint.  In order to keep costs to a minimum, actors are asked to provide their own costumes.  That's not usually a problem unless it's a period show or something special is needed.

One of the actors, new to the group, did not know about the costume policy before she accepted the role.  "Bus Stop" takes place in 1955, which qualifies as a period piece and trying for authentic looking costuming is important for providing the right "picture".  She needed a waitress uniform and shoes from that era.  Well,  this actor is new to the area, I don't think she is employed and money is tight.  We tried to assure her that we would work it out, but the next day I received a note saying she was pulling out of the show because she couldn't afford it.  Darn it!  Well, we did work it out and will purchase her costume needs out of the show budget and she will carpool with the Asst. Director which will reduce her expenses. So she agreed to stay on!  Whew!  Disaster averted!

This is, as so many of my stories are, a very looong story.  So I think I'll do it in parts.
This was Part One, come back tomorrow for the next installment....and to find out exactly what "I'm Sorry" about!

You might also like....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...