Thursday, June 18, 2009

Honk Chronicles, Day 9

S. is usually twenty minutes late, but after 9:00 AM we are worried.

It was an annoying morning anyway. Our show opens tomorrow and it seems awfully chatty around here as I try to get the morning's rehearsal underway. We are behind schedule, there remains much to do. The lights have not yet been moved into the space. Some of the children are still not wearing the attire I have asked them to wear as a base costume for the show (jeans, dance shoes, t-shirts). No one seems interested in getting anything ready for rehearsal. Some are late.

After 9:00 AM, we start rehearsing without S. Eventually, when phone calls are fruitless, it occurs to some of the others that there could be something wrong. A kid tells me she went to the pool, which is right next door, so I go over there. Yes, I am told, she had been there and left at 8:30. Oh, and she left her script there.

We rehearse without her, the final scene and the finale of our play, with our sound board operator in place. No S. A man arrives to take photographs of the kids for display on the wall tomorrow night. Finally, S. arrives, having been contacted by her grandmother and ordered to report in. By this time, I had already made contingency plans for re-casting her part.

She presents herself to me as if nothing were amiss. She tells me she "wasn't feeling well."

"You were feeling well enough to go swimming this morning," I observe.

"It was after the pool. I didn't feel well."

"You couldn't stop in here to tell us? Or call? We open tomorrow. You missed an entire day of rehearsal."


"We were very worried about you. I am glad you're okay, but very surprised that you would miss a rehearsal without calling. Anyway, let me tell you what you missed. Please get your script."

"Ummm. I know my lines already."

"Yeah, but there are some changes. Can you get out your script for me?"

"Mmmm. It's at home."

"Are you sure?" I produce the script. "You left it at the pool."


"I very nearly gave your role to someone else," I tell her. "You may keep your role, but you have to understand that because of your action, we lost time today. We all waited for you, and then I spent time looking for you instead of working on the show. Before you get on this stage again, you owe each and every member of this company an apology, every single one. I suggest you get moving, because people are leaving for the day."

Off she went.

With everyone gone, we move in two light trees with a total of eight "par cans." Par cans are lights that don't focus very well, but provide more of a wash of light across a space. I spend the afternoon trying to light the room, and ultimately use some of the regular overhead lights in combination with the par cans, using colored gels over the lights to soften the flourescent glare and give the performing area some shape. The overheads are needed, however, to prevent "cold spots" and stygian shadows.

What we've got at this point is what we are going to use. If we are very lucky, we'll get through two run-throughs of the whole show. The kids still haven't tried dancing with their masks, or changing costumes.

Que sara sara. With a total of, what, 45 hours of rehearsal and a cast of children as young as six, it's looking all right.

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