Thursday, March 31, 2011

A final weekend in Kentucky

Hi there!

So, BOB is open. Which means I'll have very little to blog about starting next week. Or I can go back to sharing videos. OR perhaps I can step it up and ruminate on life's largest questions.

Hundreds of industry tycoons are descending upon Louisville as we speak to catch all the shows going up here and it's a pretty astonishing and wonderful mix of shows they get to see. Something for everyone. And if you're a lucky to be a open minded broadly tasted positive person, there's actually a lot of things for everyone. It's a rare moment to have so many talented and eclectic actors, writers, directors, designers all sequestered in a single theatre and nearby bar and to get to enjoy their talent in a positive non-competitive environment, where everyone is rooting for each other and supporting each other's work and I've tried to soak that up before returning to the harsh real world where nobody really cares. ;-) Being at Humana is recharging and inspiring, and keeps me wanting to do what I do.

Anyhoo, I gotta go iron my shirts and tone my abs.

In the meantime:

Check out our sweet first review

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BOB - our first time in front of an audience tonight!

OK, I'm a little exhausted from the last couple days so no more live blogging our rehearsals before our previews. Unless I get bored or anxious.

We just had our dress rehearsal and most everything worked, with just a few frayed edges. We're ready to see what an audience will make of it!

A few things that changed from first rehearsal to first preview:

  • The Play is 17 Pages Shorter. But still as dense as sara lee pound cake (and as delicious too I hope)
  • We lost the Road Trip segment to Yosemite. But that bit only worked in the California Reading.
  • For prop reasons, a dead deer reference was changed to a dead goat.
  • In Act 4, Bob's dark period was adjusted from a hybrid of Steve Martin and to some sort of hybrid between Howard Hughes and Mr. Burns.
  • A roulette scene, cut in January, returned
  • As did the prostitutes.

And so much more!

Now, tonight we add laughs. At least that's what we're shooting for.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BOB - Live from Tech - Day Two

Well hello again from the Residence Inn Downtown Louisville. I just brewed the Peet's coffee I brought from SF, HBO is yet again playing that awful Russell Crow Robin Hood, and I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever cook the chicken breasts in my Kitchenette Freezer.

Barring any large hail storm interruptions, we start teching again at Noon (KY time) today and once again I'll try to keep you updated. And by you, I mean the follow spot operators who read this during breaks.

More anon.

12:06 We are at HALF HOUR people!
I've given a new line already.

So the new line was related to the secret meeting!

A second secret meeting involved a bunch of designers, director and myself trying to figure out the context and mood of the four "interludes" or "interstitials" or "entre-acts" that happen in between each act.

The secret meeting was conducted at Freddies, the official post show/tech/daytime hangout for Actors Theatre people (if you're coming to an industry weekend, you should go there and try to hook up with somebody, but don't swear). After ten minutes in its hallowed chamber, we managed to have a nice dramaturgical breakthrough about what the hell the dances in the show are all about. And it's really lovely.

12:33 Our onstage map of the US is now getting affixed with small stars to mark the hometowns of everyone working on the show. Yet another Easter Egg for this production.

12:35 All right we're taking it from the Barista Scene in Act 3!

12:42 Did anyone else get that New York Times online offer from Lincoln? (they're still getting situated up on stage)

12:45 Sean Daniels: "Can we try that again? This time, with Bongos."

12:51 Today's message (see yesterday 6:41): Idle Hams of the Devil's Plaything.

12:58 I went to pee and briefly got locked out of the Theatre. I think they cut something while I was gone.

1:09 There is now heavy debate on stage about what whether we need real muffin wrappers to convey "muffin wrapper." Danny is now testing chewing different muffin wrappers.

1:14 Incidentally, this is also the scene where Danny will be chewing lots of scenery.

1:18 Danny Scheie: "I'm not overthinking it. I'm underthinking it."

1:44 We're all still underthinking it.

1:46 Holy crap that is the sound of the hungry and vicious wolves

1:48 Danny Scheie: (quoting someone else, maybe) "In a movie it's all about the closeup. In theatre, it's all about the pattern your spit makes."

2:09 Sorry we were on a ten. It's very windy outside and we're on a Tornado Watch. But it's sunny. Unnervingly sunny.

2:19 We're working the Bob/Gunther Scene

2:33 I just made another cut! Sometimes little cuts feel the same as a good poop. Sometimes they feel like a bad poop.

2:41 Working the end of Act 3 now as BOB curses the nation with a severed arm and dressed in a South of the Border shirt.

2:50 Oh yes! We are through Act 3. That's Intermission. So we've now teched the part of the play that everyone will see. The rest is only for the lovers.

2:55 Bob at the end of Act 3

3:07 Sean Daniels: "You know me, I think house to half is for pussies."

3:08 We're now trying our first interlude as flea dance.

3:24 We're in Act 4! It's the act where bob breaks our heart.

3:53 Oh hi! We're still here. I've been pacing around the theatre. Binder has been practicing putting on his Satin underwear. And now Vera Ponchtraine, wearing Costume Designer's actual girl scout sash.

3:59 Danny's one armed roulette dealer costume is described as "if Michael Jackson and Mark Twain had a baby"

4:09 We're in the roulette scene. I'm down about 50 bucks.

4:10 Apparently the problem from yesterday at 4:28 has been solved and the ring is "resting the right place."

4:16 Another cut - The Roulette Dealer will no longer say "We’ve got a man with a death wish. Almost fifty-fifty odds but the two green slots tilt it a bit towards death. "

4:26 "Things that make you go Hmm." by C&C Music factory has just played by accident.

4:31 Binder: "I don't want to play the truth of this."

5:00 Dinnertime! We're mid Act 4, humming along, still having a good time, so far no golf ball sized hail.

7:00 Still no hail. But they are testing snow on stage. 1/2 hour to magic time.

7:21 oof I'm feeling that chicken Sandwich

7:35 OK we're back everybody. Except for the part of me that's addressing the chicken sandwich.

Sean Daniels: What's stopping you from doing that?
Danny Scheie: Your direction.

7:47 Thank you, Lorraine, for letting me know there are Antacids in the First Aid Kit.

7:56 We're teching the scene where Bob pees in a jar. Don't worry everyone, there's no cussing in the show!!

7:59 We have to make it yellower. And there's not enough.

8:00 OK we're going to see what happens if Lou brings in bob's pee bottle. Oh wait nevermind

8:07 Jar peeing success! Actors may lose a subscriber but now we're more appealing to New York!

8:34 We've made it back to Bob's false dream at Mt. Rushmore with Tony and the Prostitutes.

8:39 I've cut the ball rolling. Those in the front row audience right can now rest easy.

8:49 The prostitutes have been in and out of this play more than a prostitute!

9:16 Working the rock bottom moment where it snows soap.

9:35 looking at old drafts for an awesome line

10:07 We're at the end of Act 4! One more to go!

10:08 It's a short one so don't panic

10:09 I know I've fallen off on the posting the last hour or so but I'm trying to rewrite pivotal lines. Bear with me.

10:35 We are now past light cue 1000!

10:55 In the final hour of tech and we just made it past the last big mega-cue section. We're cutting cues 957-965. Godspeed cues 957-65!

11:33 Jesus Christ another cut

11:40 Ladies and Gentlemen, BOB has been teched!

11:48 Danny demonstrates tech fashion. (this has slowly built over the 2 10 out of 12s)

11:51 And good night sweet children. Thank you for reading this the last couple days. It was great to feel the support from very near and very far. I think it's time for a beer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bob - Live from Tech

Hello there from BOB tech at the Humana Festival and Actors Theatre of Louisville!

I don't have a whole lot to do for the next couple days but watch the marvelous show get gussied up in its set lights costumes props and sound. Gonna be amazing I think.

There are apparently over 500 light cues, several hundred sound cues, and two thousand dollars worth of light bulbs in the set. what have i done?

To keep myself occupied I will try to post little updates over the next twelve hours. Let the excitement begin!! I'll do it a single post and just keep adding.


12:31: First crisis! Jeff's socks can not be found!

12:32: Jeff's socks have been found.

12:35 First day of tech and Sean Daniels requests that all of his designers wear suits. I didn't bring a tie but we found a nice one in the Costume shop with a us map on it. Appropriate. oo the cast is on stage!

12:45 I am told there about 160 sound cues and 700 light cues. But they're all being non-committal

12:53 And we're off!
Devin makes the pre-show "welcome" announcement

1:04 Devin has been instructed to "put his mouth on the part."

1:07 Sean Daniels: "Congratulations, you have just surpassed Elemeno-Pea in number of light cues."

1:18 The water breaking sound cue has been made louder

1:21 As per Mat Smart's request, I will be rigorously rewriting and making myself a better writer during this tech. On second thought, I may just take a nap.

1:33 We are teching Aysan's pretending to speak into the White Castle PA system. A hidden microphone in her apron is creating amazing Sound Design magic.

1:46 Danny Scheie has declared a talent crush on our Sound Designer Matt Callahan and shouted "ruff! ruff!" on stage.

1:53 We're taking a ten, people. Everyone, in an instant, rushes to smoke and pee.

2:03 OK I don't know how many people smoked, but a lot of people peed

2:14 Currently working on a 27 light cue page

2:30 Upon completing the 27 cue page, everyone applauded

2:46 We're about to enter the most difficult sequence of the play: Bob and Jeanine's 12 year road trip. 2 shopping carts full of props, driving simulation, a ton of locations, folksy music...I can only hope my writing is as good as this tech.

2:55 Seriously, I wrote this scene on a laptop in a cafe in San Francisco, sipping nice coffee and giggling while Twitter employees were telecommuting next to me and now some of American Theatre' greatest minds are throwing everything they have into this. It's humbling.

3:02 Here's a shot of the first attempt at the Road Trip.

3:05 Note in the picture above that BOB is wearing his Rock and Roll pants. A big plot point revolves around those pants.

3:23 We're in Chicago! (in the play)

3:31 The designers are now in heavy discussion about what kind of light comes for you when you die in a Musical.

3:35 YouTube research is ensuing for Musical Theater Death light

3:40 We're on another ten, people. For some reason when breaks are announced, it is tradition to respond by saying thank you and the number of minutes of the break. "Thank you ten!" How did that tradition start? Danny Scheie might know.

3:54 The Dead Goat has made it into the building after some hoof re-inforcement.

4:01 I really want to go to Starbucks. Do you think anyone would be mad if I snuck out and went to Starbucks?

4:03 Does anyone need anything from Starbucks?

4:09 Binder is now in his undies

4:10 OK fuck it i'm going to Starbucks

4:20 I'm back and I bet nobody would have known I went had I not live blogged about it. Binder is still in his undies.

4:23 Binder has been provided a terry cloth robe.

4:28 "I don't know if its the shape of my body, but the ring seems to want to slide to the back." - Binder, in regards to what happens to the ring he has to keep safe in his undies.

4:33 Working the end of "Act 1" to enhance the sad slow walk.

4:43 We made it through Act 1! It's the most intense act techwise, so it's a major feat and we are cooking along! 15 minutes to dinner.

4:46 Pablo is taking charge of this monster.

4:58 We're in Act 2 in the "Seth, The trucker Scene." Until Sunday, this scene had a delightful mention of Seth's two sons, Kory and Kevin ("one's dead to me and the other one's dead." says Seth.). And then, sadly, Seth's scene was cut in half and Kory and Kevin's name are now sadly only in Seth's subtext. It will come back in the novel. Godpseed Kory and Kevin!

5:00 DINNERTIME!! (back at 7, with lots of Donors coming to check out tech as well)

6:15 Mid Dinner Update - Apparently I have sent the real Kory and Kevin into a tailspin and they are working through their grief right now at Tryangles and are sending me hate texts.

6:24 White Castle is currently setting up Sliders in the lobby for the Behind the Scenes Donor event, if you're hungry.

6:35 A couple hundred people are assembling in the Lobby and will watch an hour of tech from the Balcony. Perfectly timed with the portion where the lead character is scantily clad. And I wasn't kidding about the White Castles in the lobby. And they're in the shape of a Pyramid!

BTW when I say Act 2, I'm talking about Act 2 of 5. And the end of Act 3 we'll be at the end of Act 1.

The "Message of the Day" board. Each rehearsal day a new theme comes clear in rehearsal and is written on the Board, inspired by what happened at 1:04

6:55 A special shout out goes to the folks over at Berkeley Rep who are following this blog today. And a big warm wash of love to the rehearsal room of the The Three Sisters (RuhlStyled)! I know you'll make it to Moscow!

7:18 OK we're mid 1/2 hour (that is the time the actors have to get into costume after dinner, for those of you who don't know. I'm not sure if, like breaks, they also say "Thank you half hour".) Sean Daniels, Marc Masterson, Michael Raiford (set designer) and myself just gave a little overview to about 150 people who are coming in to watch an hour. I gave the story about why the play begins in Louisville. One patron came and shared with me his White Castle "Depression" story in Chicago. He and his family were living in a small apartment and their Saturday splurge was 25 white castles for a dollar. (A nickel a burger)

But there is a lot of White Castle left.

7:31 And we're back

7:41 The condom joke just got a groan from the patrons

7:53 Jeff Binder's quick onstage dressing just elicited applause from the patrons.

7:57 Patrons are about to meet the rest stop travelers: A Bear (gay version), A sorority sister, an abducted girl, and a Burning Man Hippie

8:04 Tech Question: What music would a Bear (gay version) listen to in their Winnebago? Please post in comments.

8:08 Stage Manager Pablo calls a 30 cue page, and then asks "Was it any good?"

8:23 There is now a heavy discussion about how the funny orgasm sound cue can be triggered by the Actor.

8:30 Bear song suggestions so far:
Kathy Mattea - Eighteen Wheels And A Dozen Roses
Or Clint Black

8:56 We're on a ten. And I'm about to make my first line-cut of tech! The patrons are leaving. Bye Patrons!

9:13 And we're back. Working Bob's moment of Heartbreak.

9:20 More bear suggestions
The Cure
The Smiths
Johnny Lee's Lookin For Love
Dolly Parton
and Ease on Down the Road from the Whiz

9:37 rewriting a line. wtf

9:43 Holy crap we've hit the end of Act 2 and into the 2nd interlude (the Dance about Love)!

9:45 And by the end of Act 2 I mean two thirds of Act 1

9:57 Holy shit my new line is AWESOME!!!!!

10:21 We're on a ten. Everyone reading this blog in the room, we're still on a ten. I need to sex this blog up for the last 90 minutes of tech.

10:23 All the designers and Sean have disappeared at the same time. Hmmm. A secret chat is ensuing.

10:27 All the designers and Sean have returned looking furtive.

10:30 The power of a sound cue call has now caused the effect that Bob has wet himself.

Pablo (stage manager): I want to be in Light Cue 491
Brian (lighting designer): Oh, you're soaking in it.

10:37 We just learned what Matt Callahan recorded for the sound cue of Bob peeing in a jar!

10:46 The dirty jokes are now being trotted out during holds.

10:57 It's 11PM and we're in the naughty waitress scene.

11:15 Sean has agreed to tell me the subject of the secret meeting.

11:29 Pablo just did the next 30 cue page and it wasn't even difficult.

11:38 Every technician in the audience is on their laptops. Before the Internet, the laptops were six packs of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

11:43 Yet again, another naughty joke fails to deliver (this one involves glitter). People can taste the witching hour.

11:46 I'm sorry about typing "taste the witching hour." That really makes no sense and I'm mixing my metaphors at this point.

11:52 And it's done for the day. We are deep in Act 3, just before the stage combat portion and it was decided it wouldn't be ideal to do stage fight at the end of a 12 hour day.

Thanks all for following along today. What was the content of the secret meeting? You (and I) will have to wait until tomorrow!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Some photos from Litter

Check out some sexy pics from A.C.T.'s production of Litter!

All photos are Alessandra Mello and you can find more here
More about the production of Litter here

Friday, March 04, 2011

Read My Blog Post about the Story of Litter over at A.C.T.'s blog

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Bob first rehearsal 3/1/11