Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DAY 19

Final dress!  Last official rehearsal.  In just 19 days we have brought two characters to life in a believeable and moving way.  The credit goes to Lesley and Eric - without their dedication to the project, none of this would have been possible.  And tech is finished and looks great - thanks to Karla, Ariana, Bill, Thom, Erik, Gail, Tyler, Merritt, Mavis, Ro and Bret.  And then of course, the amazing help from Sharron at the Israel Center, and Elaine at the Bureau of Jewish Education - and Katie at Phoenix Theatre - and Gary at Phoenix College.  Not to mention Gena in the box office!  It takes a village!
Every thing went smoothly tonight.  Mark Gluckman, our photographer, came in to take pictures during the run.  They turn out so much nicer than posed photos.  The actors were really on - and once again I was moved by both their abilities and the story itself.
It's been a wonderful journey - hard to believe that for me, it's coming to an end.  Though technically I can still give notes after preview performances, I can't imagine what else there is to say!  And once the show opens, the Director is "gone" and the Stage Manager takes over.  It's the SM's job to keep things on track - give line notes (mistakes that were said) to the actors, if necessary, and to make sure their blocking and characterizations remain consistent.  There will still be growth in the show of course.  They'll find a little nuance here or there to enrich things, but it is basically set at this time.  I really think the audience is in for quite a treat.
Thanks for reading and sharing the process.  I may occasionally have some things to add, so stop by now and then.
In the meantime, buy tickets! and remember that our on-line auction opens on Monday, Nov. 1 - there's a link to the auction site on our home page.  All sorts of great gift items for yourselves or loved ones! 
And so it goes!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

DAY 18

A number of things happened yesterday, even tho it's the "official" day off.  I went out to return Sharron's CDs to her - she greeted me with "I brought you an Israeli newspaper."  Now, that may not seem like much to you - but I was really touched.  I hadn't asked her for one - didn't want to bother her - I know she has a big event this weekend.....She simply thought it would be a nice addition to the set.  And it is.  It's a tiny detail that maybe 2 people will notice - but I love that kind of detail.  Then I borrowed a ton of religious books for Hannah's apt. and some secular ones for Zvi's from Elaine Hirsch at the Bureau of Jewish Education.  She couldn't have been more gracious!  By the time I got everything down to the theatre, Thom, our set designer had finished painting - what a difference!  He's a true master!
And happy to say the phones have started ringing!  There was a blurb with a photo in Sunday's paper (did you see it?) and we sent out a nice informative e-mail on Friday.  We had several people call for season tickets even!  Yea!
Tonight's rehearsal was very good - didn't have quite the same energy as Sunday's, but that often happens after a day off.  It tells me that they are so ready for an audience!  The audience is the magic, final ingredient that is so necessary to bring a show to life.  Even if they're completely silent, there's an energy that is given off by the audience that is transmitted directly to the actors.
So, we are definitely ready.  I had just a handful of notes for the actors tonight - tomorrow is final dress - yep, the last rehearsal.  Thursday and Friday are Preview performances, so technically, I can still give notes after them - but can't imagine what I have left to say!  By the way, tell your friends and family that tickets for Thursday (at 7:00) and Friday at 8:00 are only $20.00!  We ask that patrons those nights bring a can of food for us to give to local food banks also.  We're all in this together - we have to help each other any way we can.
And so it goes

Sunday, October 24, 2010

DAY 17

At the risk of bringing the Evil Eye upon us, have we got A SHOW!  It was like the actors were channeling Hannah and Zvi.  I got teary 1/3 of the way through the first act.  Not because of the subject matter - but because I was so moved by what a beautiful job the actors were doing....and thinking about this amazing production we've put together.  Yah, I know, sounds corny, but man it was really something.  I didn't mind that the set still isn't completely finished, or that the street lights decided not to work - none of that mattered.  We've always honored the story we're telling more than those other elements - and we've done this story justice.  It is definitely a show to be proud of. 
Course in the middle of the night, I remembered we forgot about mezzuzzahs and a coupla other things - but there's time for that.  Our scenic designer is coming in tomorrow to finish the painting; I'll run out to the Bureau of Jewish Education and borrow some appropriate books for the bookshelves; the costumer is making a few adjustments - and we still have 2 full runs before we have an audience!
Life is good.
And so it goes

Saturday, October 23, 2010

DAY 16

Today was tech.  As an Equity company we're entitled to two "10 of 12s" - meaning we work 12 hour days with a 2 hour break.  But Karla is such an efficient stage manager, I don't think we've used a full 12 hours since she's been with us (except for the musicals).  The tech crew - designers, board operators and backstage crew - got there at 10.  They had already had a "paper tech" Thurs. afternoon - that's when they went over the cues and the stage manager records all of them.  She'll be in charge of telling the operators what to do when - in theatre lingo, she "calls the show."
The lighting and sound designers "showed me their wares."  We tweaked things as needed - a softer light here, a shorter door bell sound, etc.  The set guys used the time to paint.  The actors came in around 12:30. (we're holding off on costumes til tomorrow and the paint is dry!).  Then we did a cue-to-cue.  The actors are asked to go to a certain part of the script where there's a light or sound cue - they often have to do the scene several times until the tech is just right.  It can be very tedious - but is so necessary.   This show doesn't have a lot of cues  so we finished about 3:00.  Took a short break - and ran the whole show with the technical elements added!
And, I must admit it was wonderful!  And we still have a few more days to tweak things as needed!  We were out by 6:00 - Yea Karla!
Still a few more scenic things to be done, but I feel confident we're on the right road.
And so it goes

Friday, October 22, 2010

DAY 15

Is it really only 15 days?  In some ways it seems like forever - and in others, it's flown by.
Today started with my doing a half-hour radio interview with Jayde from 103.9.  I can't tell you her real name - would spoil her whole radio personna, but she's a long time friend of the theatre's.  It was great fun - and will be broadcast at 6 AM this Sunday morning on 103.9.  So, if you're an early riser, hope you'll tune in.  Somebody must be up at that hour!
Then I met Mavis at Phoenix Theatre and picked up all sorts of things we needed for the set.  I took the "big" car today - a Toyota Matrix - but man, it held a lot!  The folks at Phoenix Theatre are so good to us - they have the largest inventory of furniture, set pieces and costumes, and always make their things available to us.  We reciprocate by adding things to their stash.  Note to self:  Make sure that Katie at P.T. gets an AJTC t-shirt this year for all her help!
The set is shaping up - still a ways to go, but there were 3 guys working on it today.  Mostly just painting left.
Oh and picked up a coffee table and 2 matching end tables for $22. at our new best Thrift Store - White Dove!
We ran the whole show tonight - there were a few little hiccups, but it went really well.  The actors are settling into their characters and making the words their own.  Even when Eric "went up" (forgot his lines) he was able to cover and move on.  I stopped taking notes 1/2 way through Act 2 and just watched.  It was some of the most honest acting I've seen on stage in a long time - and told them so.  I moved around the theatre tonight to see what the audience would see from different angles, and I think we've got it right.
Ticket sales are slow - our ads are hitting this week, so keep your fingers crossed.  And if you haven't yet ordered your tickets, please do!  It's always tough to sell an unknown show, but we know that Phx is a last-minute town, so we're hoping the rush will come this week!
I'm pretty wiped out - I'm a bit old for moving furniture and props!   There's a full weekend ahead- let's hear it for adrenaline!
And so it goes

DAY 14

So, have I mentioned what a roller coaster this process is?  After my incredible high last night, today had a few dips.  I had left knowing the actors would be stellar - it's a beautiful story they're telling - PLUS there were 4 guys working in the shop - our set dresser was taking the afternoon off to pick up everything.  Life was good.
At noon I get the plaintive call from Mavis - Ikea no longer carries slip covers for the size couch and chair we have.  (The couch had been white -- at one time. ) She settled on a throw - and said she got some great pillows, etc.
Okay - not so gefaylach, as my mother, alivah shalom, would say.  Not such a big deal.
I get to the theatre - and the set doesn't look even close to done.  The new wall is put in the wrong direction, the doors have been some major problem, and somebody cut all the wood the wrong length.  Not to mention all the painting yet to be done!
It's all supposed to be ready by Saturday, when we do a full day of tech --adding in the sound, lights and costumes.
And you know what?  Somehow it will be!  It drives me crazy - and it happens almost every show.  There may be a few finishing touches that will still need to be done, but we'll still have several days before we open.  
But, of course, Eric and Lesley were wonderful again tonight!
And so it goes

Thursday, October 21, 2010

DAY 13

Whew!  Couldn't get into the blog last night - very disappointing - I have so much to share!  So here it is!
Eric and Lesley OWN Act 1!  What a great rehearsal - a big leap forward.  In the process of every show -- well, every good show -- the moment comes when the actors relax enough to feel their characters, rather than think about them.  And this is about the time you hope it happens.
I decided we needed to shake things up a bit.  We started out talking about the characters and how they've evolved - I told them to worry less about trying to please me, and instead just let their characters come out and do what's right for them.  I also said I was confident they knew their lines - and to prove it, added "Let's do a speed through!"  A speed-through is when the actors go through the lines as fast as they possibly can - no acting, no movement.  Personally, as an actress I HATE them (the older you get, the harder they seem to be) - but Eric and Lesley were thrilled!  They did their speed through - and had fun with it.  Then we went through the act with my stopping them to make adjustments.  Finally, we ran the act. I was mesmerized!  You'd think after having seen it 1000 times that by now I'd be bored - but on the contrary - they really moved me - Back in the shop, we had brought in extra help to get us back on schedule with the set.  So they accomplished this great run with hammering, sawing and stapling going on - plus the occasional tech person would walk on stage to take measurements!  But their concentration was great.
And this morning I stopped by a thrift store next door to the office - and there was the perect little couch - marked 30% off - a total of $70.  And it supports Hospice of the Valley - a win-win!  We stuffed the couch into my little Honda Fit (I love that car!) and got it down to the theatre!
And so it goes