So, after an emergency re-casting and another actor's bout of Epstein-Barr, we've finally finished the basic blocking for Die Mommie Die! (for those unfamiliar -- 'blocking' is the actors' movement about the stage -- who walks, stands or sits and when and where they do so). For my shows the basic blocking usually doesn't change much after it's been set (unless I find that something doesn't work at all), but details can change either a little or a lot, depending on what we discover during the rest of the rehearsal process. Adding the real furniture and props can also make for some minor (and sometimes major) adjustments. Most experienced actors are used to this process and these changes prove no problem for them. One of my actors, however, is making her stage debut and just getting her used to the basics is proving challenging, though I am sure she'll be fine.
We did a little character work tonight, as well. I ask the actors questions about their characters and let them come up with their own ideas about who they are playing, gently prompting them in another direction, of need be. Of course, four of my six cast members have worked with me before. K and I have been doing theatre together since 1989, directing each other and acting together in more shows than I care to remember. And D is appearing in his 8th performance for me. I barely need to direct either of them at all. They know what I want and how to get there practically by instinct alone. And my angel Matty has already created an entire history for his character, sharing some hilarious details tonight that had all of us laughing. Then there's my "Leading Lady," who previously appeared as Steve in the JTMF production of The Most Fabulous Story... D.C. has gone all out with the character and after Fabulous, trusts me enough to give the performance we both know is needed. That leaves John and Kelly. John has tons of experience and has dived right in, fitting into the JTMF experience (truly unlike any other theatre company I have ever worked with) like he's been a part of the group from the beginning. Which leaves Kelly. A very talented young lady with plenty of camera experience, Kelly has never appeared on stage before. But her eagerness to please and learn is paying off and I have no doubts that she'll be wonderful.
Die Mommie Die! is probably one of the more outrageous shows we've ever done. It's also one of the most tech-heavy, requiring all sorts of sound and lighting effects, not to mention late-60's period costumes and a particularly tricky illusion in the second act. But I have no doubt that my very talented team is more than capable of pulling it off. They always have.
Tickets for Die Mommie Die! are available now at www.kelseytheatre.net or on the JTMF website. If you are on the East Coast and within driving distance of central NJ, I urge not to miss what is certain to be the funniest and most outrageous show of the season. And you'll be helping to raise money for three terrific causes.
OK - enough shameless self-promotion. Back to our regularly scheduled nonsense, soon.