We had our first rehearsal last night and it has become apparent to me there is a huge gulf between writing a play and directing it.
The thing is when you write a play it all pretty obvious to you. You see the action in your head and the words (hopefully) flow out. You see. When you get actors (especially good ones like I got) the things you thought were clear turn out to be a bit opaque. They didn’t see it as you wrote it.
For example, you have an actor bring a riding crop on stage and as the action moves to physical confrontational, what the hell do you do with the riding crop? I never even thought of it, but sure enough the manual dexterity gymnastics of what to do with which props as the scene developed popped up. How can
Colonel Rituxin fight unless he uses the crop as a weapon? Or gets rid of it? Where?
As we walked through the blocking, these small pieces and parts that initially seemed insignificant, began to mushroom and multiply onto themselves. Riding crops became how to hand off weapons, moved onto the discussion of where exactly on stage should hand-to-hand combat take place, and on-and-on. It was a lot to take in, but we pushed on through, but I learned a lot.
It was all quite humbling.
Since I wrote the piece, I have to confess a certain arrogance (until last night) when I approached the blocking. I thought it would take care of itself in most regards. You see, I concentrated more on story than staging and probably didn’t do the detailed work on my blocking plan I should have.
A bright point. When Bonita (played by Connie Regan) gives her first speech and she is eventually surrounded by the cast and everyone describes the new cancer language, it is devastatingly beautiful. You guys are going to love it.
Anyway, more notes to come.
Can’t wait for next week’s rehearsal.
BTW – A special shout out to our logistics team of Hailey Denevere, Lyn Anderson, Jeanne Jerzak, and Gail Wagner. These guys are walloping the heck out of this.