In the Making

Theatre 2-a-Days

Posted by cjaxon on June 24, 2011

I meant to post something earlier this week about opening night, but this is literally the first time I’ve been able to sit and write. The first show went off without a hitch. The party afterward was at a Chinese restaurant, with free sushi! And then Wednesday morning we started Hairspray, and hit the ground running. Instead of beginning with music rehearsals like most shows, we staged all of “Good Morning Baltimore,” the dance at the gym (“The Madison”), and the first part of “Nicest Kids in Town” – three very intricate numbers. Then we scarfed down dinner and went back to the Civic Center to perform Oliver again. From my point of view Wednesday night felt even better than Tuesday, although we were more tired.

Here I’ve got to give a shout out to my father who drove all the way up on Wednesday to see it and drove back on Thursday morning. Mom and Sarah stayed home because Sarah’s getting ready to leave for a mission trip for about a week and a half. Missed them, but I totally understand.

At some point soon I’m going to write down all the crazy stories from these kids in the gang, or “squids” as some of us refer to them, semi-affectionately. You just never know what you’re going to get. Most of the time they’re harmless, but they’re always interesting. Like when we’ve told them to react to what going on in the scene, and they keep their adlibs fresh, but then they start waiting until everyone else has finished speaking and then say their adlibs in the dramatic silence before the next line. Or like when they start ranting backstage about Patti LuPone being “a hag,” because she’s so short, or she’s so tall, or whatever she is. They admit they have no idea who she is, but she’s must be a hag. Or when they accidentally knock over a bench at the beginning of the scene without realizing it and then three of them sit down but fall over backwards.

Squids.

But back to Hairspray.

Thursday and yesterday were much the same as Wednesday, with varying degrees of tired and hungry, but always loving it.  We’re having so much fun with the Hairspray music and choreo that it’s worth it. The only thing that worries me a little is that there’s so much to do – every song has dancing, and our music director is just as demanding for style and specificity.
And at this point, we’re almost halfway through the “rehearsing” phase. And it’s been a much more piecemeal process of learning it. So far we learned one scene-into-a-song in the order of the script; all of the dances have been separated and out of order. And there’s much more individual review and memory work involved: once we’re taught a dance, we’ll get to run through it once, maybe twice, but not over and over, and not the next day either. Like I said, we learned “Good Morning” and the Madison on Wednesday, and haven’t reviewed either yet – there’s still too much to learn. And the final interesting thing about these rehearsals are that they’ve begun to get… well, segregated. The theme of the show is breaking social barriers, the most apparent of which is race. So the blacks and whites have their own songs and dances, and that’s how we’ve begun to divide and conquer learning it. Not that this is causing problems; it’s just the nature of the show. But I do miss seeing my black friends in rehearsals.

Tomorrow we do some scene work 10-12. Lunch, and then a 1:30 call. Matinee at 2, call at 7:30, show at 8. Ahh, the life of summerstock!

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One Response to “Theatre 2-a-Days”

  1. Keith Bethell said

    You seem like you’re having a blast. I think I’m gonna start callin’ my kids at church squids hahaha. That’s funny with the bench thing. Anywhoo…Continue having fun, Chas!!!

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