collisionwork: (Selector)
Oy, what a tiring, but fun weekend. Pretty much going all the time from the last post to Sunday night.

Friday - finished that post, went to The Brick, wrote light cues for Penny Dreadful episode 6 for several hours (I hadn't seen a few scenes for the show, so I had to guess on where to light from what I'd been told).

Then make some fixes on Babylon Babylon lights before opening night. The show was looking pretty good, and I think it looks better now - a couple more images from Ken Stein here, featuring Michele Carlo and Marguerite French:
Babylon Babylon - Michele Carlo

Michele is seen in the "Descent of Ishtar" ceremony.
Babylon Babylon - Marguerite French

Marguerite kicks major ass as Fred Backus looks on, confused (and, at rear, Roger Nasser tries to hold his guts in).

Then we had the opening night show and party (all great - audience was maybe a hair too friendly . . . sometime you get too many laughs, and not always in the right places). I played the aforementioned "Babylon" mix at the party, after a similar, but shorter one that Jeff Lewonczyk had made up - though his had a few songs I hadn't thought of as I only did a search on he iPod for "Babylon." He had thought to include "Mesopotamia" by The B-52s, "The Mesopotamians" by They Might Be Giants, and "River Euphrates" by Pixies, so I've now thrown them into my mix in case it ever gets used again.

I left the party earlier than I'd have liked to, as I had to be back at 9 am the next day for tech, and I wanted to shave my beard (which I've been trying to grow out for weeks) into the style as worn by George Westinghouse before going to bed.

So I got home and shaved the beard:

Westinghouse Beard 2

Which, from what I read, was slightly eccentric even when GW was wearing it (and lord I hate how my deflicted left eye looks in photos - I swear it's getting worse . . .). I got no photos from the show otherwise, so I don't have what it looked like when I whitened up the whole beard and hair - I aged several decades and became a somewhat Scandinavian-looking George Westinghouse (the pure white just brought out every bit of Swede there). I'm sure Bryan and Matt - who got photos of the show and me in costume and makeup - can share some with me sometime.

I figured I'd be taking the whole beard off Sunday night, but people have been digging the new look so much I decided to keep it a few more days. Berit said "It's a pity it's so unfashionable, it really suits you," but Roger Nasser (and others) basically said "Fuck fashion, go for it," so I'll give it a spin for a while.

Berit wanted me to go into the Kellogg Diner (which is closed right now anyway) in full Westinghouse hair and 3-piece suit period costume and walking stick, walk up to the counter, and ask for a "phosphate."

I liked Berit's other idea better (but still wouldn't do it), which was to behave like it was "Act Like a Time Traveler Day," and wander up and down Metropolitan Avenue as if I'd fallen through some time warp in the past and wound up in present-day Brooklyn. Eventually, when enough people were paying attention, I'd have to notice an airplane (since The Brick is almost right under traffic into LaGuardia, this isn't hard), scream "EEEYAH! IRON BIRD!" and run off screaming. No, I don't quite have the nerve to do that . . . though someday I'd like to pretend to be a time traveler from a dystopian future, running up to people and asking them the date - "The YEAR, man, WHAT'S THE YEAR?" - and, once getting it, mumbling "Then there's still time . . ." and handing them a small vial filled with liquid (olive oil, I think) and telling them that they'd "know what to do with this when the time came . . . thank you Mr. Preside- sorry! Thank you, sir."

So we teched the very difficult Penny Dreadful episode for much of Saturday - went home to rest a bit, then came back for the show, which was rough as hell, but I think somehow better for it in some ways. It's funny, I think I understand how some of the actors felt on the episode I directed last month - Aaron and Becky both said they felt the show was much better in the slightly rougher evening performance rather than the much more "together" matinee the next day. It's a difference between being a director and being an actor - the director wants to see the whole show work smoothly as a unit, the actor prefers the show where all the performances connect in a way that may be rougher and raw, but works for them.

Oh, Mac Rogers wrote a nice piece of common sense on actors and directors HERE that reflects my own feelings, and how I try to behave as an actor, exactly. Luckily, I pretty much never have to say anything like that to actors I direct - I seem to be good at casting people who are always willing to listen and try things they may not agree with - but I sometimes wind up acting in other shows with actors who want to question every direction from the word go, which is annoying as it usually just winds up wasting a LOT of productive time.

Anyway, pretty good show Saturday night - Sunday morning, I auditioned two good people for Ambersons who I'm going to ask to be in the show (wait, one reads this blog . . . well, maybe he'll get an email before he reads it here).

Another side note - I hadn't done very many auditions for years, but I had to for my August shows last year, and have had to since for Merry Mount and now Ambersons. And I have to say, out of the many many people I've seen, there has only been ONE clunker. It used to be with auditioners, a third would be pretty bad, a third OK, and the last third split between (mostly) really quite good and (a tiny sliver) un-fucking-believably good. All I've seen this last year are almost all in the "really quite good" category with a few "OK"s and the usual number of UFB good. Are actors getting better in general? Or have I just been lucky this last run?

So, matinee of PD and then Ambersons rehearsal all night with the "principals" - the members of the Amberson, Minifer, and Morgan clans. We've now staged over half the show. Looking good. Tonight I just work on the Lucy Morgan/George Minifer sections.

Yesterday, some actual rest during the day (and watching episodes of C.S.I. borrowed from my brother David in Maine) and rehearsal for Everything Must Go last night, which was good. The show isn't exactly moving forward, but is widening, expanding laterally, which it needs to before moving forward any more. I have to go away again for a few days, and I always (for whatever reason) write better outside of NYC, so I'm going to try and get as much as I can done on EMG and Spell while I'm gone.

So, a little more fun today before rehearsal and journey. I've got a ton of backed up video I've been wanting to share, but I'll get to that later, except this one piece right now, William Shatner, Joe Jackson, Ben Folds and friends performing Pulp's "Common People" (the album version's a bit better - The Shat is trying to "sell" it too much in this live performance):

Well, what else could I do? )



Enjoy.

collisionwork: (kwizatz hadarach)
Shows that are up or coming or upcoming from collaborators and friends that you should see and they will be fun and relatively cheap and then you can smile and have a good time and then have maybe some cookies or something and a nice glass of something tasty and then we can have world peace or something:

Matt Freeman's When Is a Clock? has opened. The last two pieces I saw of his at The Brick were terrific and hysterical (An Interview With The Author and Trayf) and I plan on seeing this one . . . whenever the hell I can. If, unlike me, you're not rehearsing, like, six shows right now and have some free time, see the damned thing. Runs April 15 through May 10 at Access Theater.

More info is HERE; tickets are available HERE.

James Comtois' Colorful World opens at 78th Street Theatre Lab on May 8th and runs to the 31st. I think they were rehearsing next door to us at Battle Ranch last night -- Michael Gardner asked, "Did I hear Jessi Gotta's laugh?" Apparently so, as a big mess o'cards got left there afterwards. It's a riff on superheroes in a recognizable, real world in the vein of Alan Moore's Watchmen. Again, hope I get to see it.

If you can, tickets and info are HERE.

Coming up at CSV-Milagro shortly is the new entry in Stolen Chair's "Cinetheatre Tetrology," The Accidental Patriot: The Lamentable Tragedy of the Pirate Desmond Connelly, Irish by Birth, English by Blood, and American by Inclination, created by Jon Stancato & Co., which combines Errol Flynn swashbuckling films with Greek Tragedy. Really. April 25-May 17.

Info HERE, tickets HERE.

And at the home territory of The Brick . . .

The season finale of Penny Dreadful - Episode 6: "The Earth Shook, The Sky Burned" - will play this Saturday at 10.30 pm and Sunday at 2.00 pm. I'm lighting this one with Berit, as always, and also acting in this one as George Westinghouse (a comment on my usual position as supplier of power to the show?). It's a corker of an episode to end the season with, and will have people eagerly awaiting the return in September.

Tickets are HERE.

Finally, Babylon Babylon has a final preview tonight and opens tomorrow (with big party to follow).

I've been describing this one plenty (as I've also lit this, though it still has another name on the homepage . . .), so I needn't say much more, but the show has really turned out well, and it's quite exciting to see so many good actors (31!) all working together at the same time on the same stage.

Here's a photo from production photographer Ken Stein, taken at the first preview:

Babylon Babylon - The High Priestess 2

I have a bunch more nice shots from the show, but I'll put them all behind a cut here for easier loading . . .

Hail Ishtar! - photos from final dress and first preview )



This show runs from April 18 to May 10. Blog is HERE, tickets are HERE.

That's all for now. More tomorrow. See some theatre.

Reboot

Apr. 14th, 2008 10:31 am
collisionwork: (tired)
I am so damned tired.

I have been on the go almost constantly since last Sunday, when I was up bright and early to record a podcast, followed by about five hours of observing Babylon Babylon rehearsal to figure out the lights, followed by six hours of driving to Maine. The following day was mostly relaxing, true, with a dentist appointment in the middle of it (and I couldn't get the work I wanted done - I need an oral surgeon - but I got prescriptions and some other minor help that will handle the problem until the work proper can be done).

Tuesday, another six hour drive from Maine right to The Brick to continue observing the show.

Then, Wednesday through Sunday have all been work days at The Brick of at least 13 hours each day (and up to 16). Mostly, it's been getting the lights all set for BB, with a first rehearsal for Spell early Saturday morning, and one for Penny Dreadful yesterday from 9 am to 4 pm followed by an Ambersons rehearsal from 6.30-10.30 pm. And I wound up having to run the lights for BB at the opening preview when Lindsay, the (excellent) stage manager got seriously ill.

The good things were that the time has been tiring, but almost entirely enjoyable, surrounded by fine people doing hard worthwhile work and having a good time at it, and also I got in a new shipment of contact lenses on Friday and have been enjoying some glasses-free time again.

So, today I ain't doing much of anything. I have to arrange some rehearsal space, but apart from that, nothing much else. I will watch some movies. We should clean our home (um, it's actually getting kinda smelly, and not just from the cat box), but I'll hold out on that for another day.

But, to expand a bit more on bits of the above:

The podcast was recorded for New York Theatre Experience's nytheatrecast.com, and featured myself, Jeff Lewonczyk, and Jon Stancato in a conversation about theatre that is in some way influenced by/connected to cinema, moderated by Trav S.D. It came out well, I think (the tech is a little dicey - they're not used to dealing with four people at once, really), and can be accessed HERE.

Babylon Babylon had its first open preview performance on Saturday, and it went pretty well. There are still a few elements missing that will be in for next week, and I have a handful of little fixes and additions to make. Went well, though the first audience didn't find it nearly as funny as I did, and I don't know why (well, maybe I do - it doesn't really start funny, and there are very few "clues" to let you know it's supposed to be funny, thankfully - and, also, it gets really dark and unfunny here and there as well).

It's a good show, and worth your time and money. See it. The website with info is HERE - though, um, it still lists the original light designer instead of me . . . have to remind someone to change that . . .

The next episode of Bryan Enk & Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful plays this Saturday and Sunday at The Brick - it's the "season finale," and we'll be on hiatus with that show until September (though there might be a one-off, standalone episode sometime this Summer). This episode is "The Earth Shook, The Sky Burned" and is mostly set around the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It features myself as George Westinghouse, Tom Reid as Thomas Edison, Bob Laine as J.P. Morgan, and Roger Nasser as William Howard Taft, with Joseph Ryan and Randall Eliot in several roles, and . . . well, you'll have to see. This one is directed by Brick co-founder Michael Gardner, and Berit and I, as always, are handling the light design and some other technical matters.

The Brick's page for the show (with ticket info) is HERE; the general Penny Dreadful site, with information about the series and synopses/videos of past episodes is HERE.

First meeting for my original show Spell, which will be going up in August, on Saturday. All but one of the 12-person cast was present, and we talked about the show and the issues that have come up in its creation. I played some of the music that was inspirational for the show. New avenues of approach were raised and discussed. Characters were slightly more defined. I laid out the set and put the cast on it in patterns that seemed "right," had movement happen, and scenes appeared from this start. The ending to the show appeared and was vaguely staged (to Brian Eno's song "Just Another Day"). Now I have a scene to work towards and have to earn.

The original intent of the show was to be a look inside the splitting mind of someone who has done a terrible, destructive, murderous thing, and then attempt to understand what makes someone do something so horrible. It has now moved, though, towards being more about The Violent Act that has been committed and a debate over whether there is ever any possible excuse for such actions. This is a continuing debate I have in myself, so I'm trying to settle it in some way through a splitting of myself into these characters.

It is now a more delicate and dangerous show than I anticipated, as there is more chance for failing in the task set out - I can't let it be shallow and pat, and yet it has to be theatrically compelling and go somewhere, and feel satisfying at the close, though there is no way of truly achieving closure with this story.

The cast is terrific - Moira Stone, Fred Backus, Alyssa Simon, Jorge Cordova, Iracel Rivero, Rasha Zamamiri, Jeanie Tse, Gavin Starr Kendall, Olivia Baseman, Sammy Tunis, and Liz Toft - and game. It'll be a joy to work with them. I hope I live up to it.

And a second blocking session for the June Ambersons production last night. I was scheduled to do just a few sections of the big "Ball" scene (and a few other little bits), but I decided to just go ahead and set the blocking for the whole damned difficult scene, at least for the principals in the sequence (as the entire rest of the cast is constantly flowing in and out during the sequence as party guests and servants, and I have to set the main line of flow before I can add in the additional eddies).

So we went ahead and damn if we didn't get through the whole sequence, which is 22 pages long - 1/5th of the entire script! So that was a nice chunk. I also blocked two simple scenes, with very little movement - Jack and George's argument in the bathroom and Eugene and Isabel sitting in the garden. I hope this keeps moving as quickly, with as much fun - this is one of the jokiest casts I've ever had, with suggestions for anachronistic behavior coming in constantly (which never gets old).

This week, more Ambersons and Penny Dreadful, but first, a day of rest. Pardon me, I must get started on that . . .

collisionwork: (lost highway)
Luckily, it wasn't MY car.

I've been working 13-hour days getting the lights ready for Babylon Babylon - it's taken me a LOT longer than I expected to get them ready, as always happens when I have to do a considerable rehang on my own (I need to always multiply my estimated time x2 when a solo rehang is involved). Yesterday, I had to finish cabling, then focus all 28 lights being used in the show, which involved bringing up a light individually, running down the ladder from the booth, up the 12-foot ladder to the grid to focus (sometimes up and down several times as I adjusted my lighting "standins" - two extended mic stands with paper taped to the top) then back up the ladder to the booth. Repeat x 28. Big fun.

I probably looked pretty silly, too, as I had brought and was wearing my pyjama pants to work in, but no one else was going to be there, and it made it a lot more comfortable.

The show itself is still coming together, and is almost there. There are previews tomorrow night (which will be rough, but it needs an audience to move forward) and next Thursday (which should be fine and slick) before opening a week from tonight. I still have to go in and finish writing the cues, and make the fixes from what I saw last night. I'll try and take some pictures of the run tonight to share.

Oh, right, pictures! That's what I started the story about. So anyway, I was up on the ladder, focusing, when there was a car horn honking out in front that got more and more insistent, then just held down and wouldn't stop. I stomped down the ladder, and for some reason had the idea that it was our landlord honking - he's never done that, so I don't know why I thought this, but when I'm parked in the "free" space in front of The Brick sometimes (it's a former driveway, so there's no meter there, and you can stay there all day without paying or getting a ticket), he will come in and order me to move so he can have "his" spot for his big green Expedition - Berit always gets angry about this ("It's NOT his spot!"), and it's a pain, but well, he's the landlord. Best to stay friendly.

So I open the front door of The Brick and find myself looking at the landlord's car right in front, the alarm going off, with constant honk, lights flashing, and wipers going, and a GIANT plume of fire coming through a hole in the hood that it has obviously burned through. Impressive.

So I ran back inside and to the rear of the theatre (I know that, Hollywood notwithstanding, cars generally don't blow up, but seeing that much fire coming from one is unnerving) and called the FDNY. Someone probably got them before me, because almost immediately after, I could hear the hoses going, and thought it was safe to grab my camera . . .

Burning Car - Medium

Wish I'd gotten some with the actual fire, but oh well . . .
Burning Car - Close

I feel bad for the landlord, but at the same time there's that evil part of me with the tiny inward grin remembering all the times I was in the middle of a good rehearsal process and was interrupted with the yell that I had to move my vehicle, NOW! I told a couple of people about the past incidents and they shrugged and said "Karma."

(Berit, with a big "comic" take, called it "car-ma." ugh.)

So, back to the theatre, but first, todays random ten and cats - from the iPod today:

1. "Weird Nightmare" - Elvis Costello et al. - Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus
2. "Where the Wolf Bane Blooms" - The Nomads - Children of Nuggets: Original ARTyfacts from the Second Psychedelic Era - 1976-1996
3. "Tear It On Down" - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - Black Magic
4. "Brick Is Red" - Pixies - Surfer Rosa
5. "Life of Crime" - The Flatmates - Love and Death (The Flatmates 86-89)
6. "Ambiguity Song" - Camper Van Beethoven - Telephone Free Landslide Victory
7. "Power" - John Oswald (Deep Zen Pill with Brother Bam Shock) - 69 Plunderphonics 96
8. "Nice 'n' Easy" - Frank Sinatra - The Capitol Collectors Series
9. "Oil Gusher" - The Raymond Scott Project - Powerhouse volume 1
10. "Sexy Trash" - Electric Six - I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master

Wasn't able to take any new cat pictures with everything going on this week, but I have a couple sitting around that weren't the best from past weeks. Here's a nice pudgy Hooker-cat on a shelf, wishing I'd stop bothering him:

Hooker the Pudgepot

And with Moni on a chair, almost in their Yin-Yang Kitty pose:
Yin-Yang Kitties

Tomorrow morning, we have the first meeting/work session for Spell. Sunday, rehearsal for Penny Dreadful in the early morning and The Magnificent Ambersons in the evening.

I'm tired, but it's a GOOD tired.

collisionwork: (philip guston)
Well, here I am in Portland, Maine again, after a long day.

Sunday started with a 9.30 am meeting at Martin Denton's place to record a podcast for nytheatrecast - me, Jeff Lewonczyk, and Jon Stancato discussing our work in creating theatre that comes in some way from film with moderator Trav S.D. It wound up being a pretty cool discussion, but we only had enough time to scratch the surface of the subject - as Trav noted, the four of us could have had a fine old time talking about this for hours.

I'll note it here when it's posted.

Well, the day had actually started much earlier by dragging myself out of bed and packing and trying to make sure I didn't forget anything I needed and saying goodbye to the partner and the cats, which is hard enough to do, even for two days. Actually gets harder each time this happens, which I wouldn't have expected once upon a time.

After the podcast, Jeff and I drove over to The Brick for Babylon Babylon rehearsal (and as Jon was rehearsing at The Battle Ranch, he crammed himself in Petey Plymouth as well, among the overflow of props that fill it, as usual - not comfortable, but convenient).

I was there to see a runthru and figure out the lights - they had to start with quite a bit of work, so I only got to see about 2/3rds of a run before they had to split, but that was enough to figure out the light plot and most of the cues. Turned out, to my relief, to be a lot simpler than I expected.

On the other hand, I was surprised to discover the time I should have them ready was a little sooner than I expected, so I have to rush back to The Brick for Tuesday night's rehearsal, do the light hang after their run, then write all the cues, or do that the following day so they can run with lights on Wednesday night. Tight, but doable.

The show looks great, too - Jeff may have to cut some things for pace reasons, which made me wince, as he'll be cutting some great stuff, but for the overall rhythm and feel of the show it's the right thing to do - as well as for keeping this intermissionless show under the 2-hour mark. I'll really miss some of the deletions, though.

Out of there and on the road at 5 pm. The drive up to Maine was half-pleasant, half-not - I'd decided to listen to my chronological Rolling Stones playlist on the iPod, and got from the first 1963 recordings to halfway through Exile on Main St. in the 5.5-hour trip - sometimes I just like listening to a band or artist's work pretty much in its entirety, from start to finish, seeing how the work developed over time (though this playlist is missing, for some reason, "Sympathy for the Devil" and the Rice Krispies commercial they did in the early 60s).

The Stones' songs got pretty dark, though, just as the sky did and a heavy rain started, and wound up making the rest of the trip pretty creepy - driving on a pitch-black highway through Lowell, Massachusetts, with rain smears making everything ahead of me blurry and uncertain, as "Gimme Shelter" played (very loud) was both a beautiful and unsettling experience (the whole great Let It Bleed album was actually top-drawer "music-to-make-you-feel-deep-forboding" scoring for that part of the trip - luckily Sticky Fingers made things quite a bit lighter right as I crossed into New Hampshire).

And now I'm here, and after having drowsiness problems at the wheel once darkness fell, I'm wide awake and bored. Usually, Berit and I get our surfing-the-zeitgeist TV fix up here, since we don't have it at home, but the only things even slightly bearable on now are two films on Turner Classic Movies - Murnau's Sunrise followed by Godard's Contempt - two movies I own on DVD and have watched many many times, and (being, respectively, a silent movie and in French) not the best films to have as "background noise." Fox Movie Channel is playing Russ Meyer & Roger Ebert's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, but I'm not quite in the mood for that classic right now, I think.

Tomorrow, the joys of dental extraction.

Wait a minute . . . even though they listed it as "letterboxed," TCM is playing a very bad pan-and-scan print of Contempt, scratched and nasty-looking, with English titles . . . oh, jeez, and it's dubbed. Well, screw that, over to FMC for some Meyer/Ebert action . . .

collisionwork: (vile foamy liquids)
Various things seen and done . . .

First reading last night of Richard Foreman's Harry in Love: A Manic Vaudeville, for my August production, with the comparatively small cast of six. Went well, and the cast is damned good and has a good time mixing outside of the work as well. Some fine single-malt scotch was poured at the intermission break (thanks, Josephine!) and we had a well-lubricated time. Amazingly, the reading lasted one hour and 47 minutes -- when we originally performed the show, it ran two hours and 50 minutes, plus two intermissions. WAY too long, but we were doing the premiere production, so I felt we should do the complete play. Foreman's first comment (besides thanking me for the production) was that if I ever did it again, I should cut it, so I did. I cut 25 pages, which was less than I had hoped to, but they must have been the right 25 pages, because I certainly didn't expect to lose an hour with that - but I'm glad I did. It'll run a bit longer in performance, with business and so forth, but not too much longer (plus one intermission). A good length.

Another image from the Modern Mechanix blog with a headline that caused some hilarity around this home:

Zeppelin on World Tour

The hilarity was actually more from the fact that the moment Berit and I saw it, we began singing the intro to "The Immigrant Song" together without a pause.

Here's the video trailer for the Piper McKenzie production Babylon Babylon, opening soon at The Brick, which I'm lighting (and I appear briefly in the first minute of this trailer):

On The Developmental Process )



There's also a blog for the show, HERE.

Jules Dassin, one of my favorite noir directors, has died at the age of 96. I've written enough obits recently, and plenty of people are paying tribute to this great filmmaker, so I won't go on about him too much.

He has been known best for many years for his later films Rififi and Topkapi. With the increased interest in noir (and fine rereleases from The Criterion Collection) the four great noirs he made, one a year, from 1947-1950, Brute Force, The Naked City, Thieves' Highway, and Night and the City, are now regarded as the best of his works. They are all essential noirs, and if you haven't seen them, I can't recommend them enough.

Consumer news: The new Region 1 DVD of Lynch's Lost Highway is pretty crappy and inferior to recent editions from France, England, and Germany - if you have a region-free player, go for one of those (I have the German edition, which is bare-bones and quite cheap, if you can find it).

Also, I'm making my way through the Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus 16-Ton Megaset DVD box set, and, besides looking better than I've ever seen them, the episodes are turning out to be more complete than I've ever seen them before -- I've watched every episode multiple times, on PBS, cable channels, VHS tape, laserdisk, and earlier DVD editions, I practically know them all by heart, and this new set has little bits and pieces throughout that have been sliced from the episodes for years. It's kinda weird (but great!) seeing these episodes for the umpteenth time and seeing new bits (and entire sketches!) that are brand-new to me.

Sean Rockoff told me that when he saw MPFC on channel 13 back in the 70s when they first ran it, there were still some Gilliam animations in a few episodes that have always been cut since (and I've read about them elsewhere) -- I'm expecting to see them show up when those episodes come around.

UPDATE: Nope. The three edited animation segments were still edited, even though lots of other little bits and pieces I've never seen before keep showing up (fewer and fewer as the series goes on). And while I'm glad to see all these pieces restored, it turns out that there's some other cuts/replacements as well - apparently for music rights issues (though for some reason, Graham Chapman's rendition of "Girl from Ipanema" in one episode is dubbed over with "I Dream of Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair," but is left in when sung by Cleese and Chapman in another).

I DID finally find one of the cut animation segments on YouTube, and here it is:

A Bad Connection on Line 422 )



We've wound up with a night off we didn't expect. More Python and ordering in take-out. Nice.

It Starts

Mar. 27th, 2008 12:19 pm
collisionwork: (red room)
Last night I went over to The Brick to see a bit of a rehearsal of Babylon Babylon, which I'm now designing the lights for (original designer couldn't do it).

I need to see a few more rehearsals to figure out how to make it work - I can do it with the instruments we have, sure, but I need to really buckle down on what to put where - can't be wasteful at all with instruments on this. The Brick is pretty much all opened up, with rows of seats against the walls, as Frank Cwiklik did with Bitch Macbeth in January.

Babylon Babylon in rehearsal

There's a low central platform, a big stairs/dais piece (the "holy ground") at one end (with projection screen to be bisecting it) and 16 small areas where people have a kind of "home base." Jeff tells me there's really just about 8 real areas to deal with isolating, which helps. I have 26 source-4s (two with I-Cues, two with color scrollers), with 3 others that are broken but fixable (I have the parts), 1 PAR can, two working birdies on floor stands (maybe another one or two fixable), another floor stand for the PAR or a source-4 (and I can always make more if I need them), and basically 31 dimmers (+1 for the house lights). I can make it look good, I'm sure, but I need to see how the whole show moves before I figure out how.

Babylon Babylon in rehearsal 2

23 out of the 32 listed cast members were there last night, including many friends and frequent collaborators. It'll be fun coming by to these rehearsals and seeing everyone without having to direct them or act with them for once.

So tonight is a first meeting for one of my August shows, Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic #2).

This show is to be "a play with and in dance," and is being built around the actors, so I don't have very much to it yet. A vague structure and setting, some visual, scenic, and choreographic ideas, and the characters I think the 13 actors will be playing -- assuming I have all 13 actors - some haven't replied or said anything to me since agreeing - sometimes vaguely - to do the show. Tonight I'm expecting 8, maybe 9 of the actors. Maybe. I'll see who shows.

I think the show will be about 75-95 minutes long, in one act, in two defined parts that take place in the advertising agency setting - either two days or one day split in half by lunch. I hope I don't lose any more actors (and I keep the one who's still checking schedule to see if she can do it).

Oh, and I have some music for this. Probably most or all of it, some may be added, some may be dropped. I like these songs basically for their sound, the way I feel movement flowing to them, and the emotional rise and fall of the action in the show as a whole as I see it - the only problem is that they are songs, with lyrics, and while the intensity and feel of the song as a whole is exactly what I'm looking for, sometimes the words are distracting, and would seem to impart meanings to the scenes they're intended for that aren't supposed to be there.

But I don't have anything better as yet for those scenes, so these songs will stay until anything better comes up (unlikely). I spent some of the morning burning CDs of the music to be able to give to the cast tonight. Here's what's on them:

PRESHOW:
1. "Anthology" - The Kay Gees
2. "Listen to the Band" - The Monkees

SHOW, part 1 (morning to afternoon, or maybe day one; I don't know yet):
3. "Jimmy Carter" - Electric Six
4. "Slug" - Passengers
5. "Down at McDonnelzz" - Electric Six
6. "Dry Bones" - The Four Lads
7. "Laughing" - Pere Ubu
8. "Transylvanian Concubine" - Rasputina
9. "Shannon Stone (mashup)" - Mark Vidler/Go Home Productions
10. "Not Yet Remembered" - Harold Budd & Brian Eno

SHOW, part 2 (afternoon to evening, or maybe day two; I don't know yet):
11. "The Coo-Coo Bird" - Clarence "Tom" Ashley
12. "Paradise Flat" - The Status Quo
13. "Maybe" - The Chantels
14. "In Every Dream Home a Heartache" - Roxy Music
15. "Uptight Maggie (mashup)" - Mark Vidler/Go Home Productions
16. "Episode of Blonde" - Elvis Costello
17. "Theme One" - George Martin
18. "Back of a Truck" - Regina Spektor

POSTSHOW and EXIT:
19. "Money Changes Everything" - Cyndi Lauper
20. "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts" - X

I have no idea yet if this odd jumble of styles and sounds will mix in an interesting and ultimately coherent way, or simply seem scattered, disparate, and unfocused. I think it'll work the way I want it to, and unfortunately confuse some people, which I'd rather not do, but whatever. You can't make it work for everyone.

Tonight I'll play the music and watch how people move (several are trained dancers, of various styles, some are musical-theatre people with some dance, some are actors who move well, and there are a couple that I have no idea about, but they seemed to be needed in this world and I'll choreograph around however they move). Maybe set them up in patterns and see how they work visually. Think about words they look like they should be saying.

So much of me hates working this way, making it up as I go along, but I just know I have to do it this way right now.

From today until the August shows are done - 151 days - Berit and I will have a total of 27 days without a rehearsal or performance of one of our four shows - and never two days in a row except maybe between Ambersons performances in early June. And most of those 27 will be filled up with work to get the shows and space ready (as well as working on Babylon Babylon, Penny Dreadful, and The Film Festival: A Theater Festival). And then the two days after the shows are over will be spent getting The Brick spiffed up for this year's Clown Theatre Festival, followed by another 33 days straight of techs and performances for that festival (and Penny Dreadful again).

We finally get some time off September 29-October 17. Until then, we're pretty much busy every day on shows.

We're fucking nuts.

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