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:
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.
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? )